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We are Big Idea Hunters…

We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

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Question: What do you do?

Aubrey de Grey: The best way to describe what I do as a biologist is to start by describing what I don’t do. Because there’s one big thing that nearly all biologists do that I don’t do which is experiments. I don’t have my own laboratory. I never have had. I don’t even have training in experimental work. So I work as what, in physics, would be called a theoretician – a theoretical biologist. I bring my ideas together. I take the ideas and the results that other people have generated in the laboratory, and I come up with new proposals for experiments … both experiments to understand aging better, and also experiments to combat aging. And I … I’m able to do this in a manner that experimental biologists are less able to do simply because I have more time. Because experiments are very time consuming. Just the same way that in physics, there are a lots of people who do that – who spend their time bringing ideas together, and who work symbiotically with the experimentalists – that should be the same with biology. In biology, however, it turns out that very, very few people work on the synthesis side. And actually that’s one of the big reasons that I chose to go into the field, because I felt I could make a big contribution simply because there were so few other people trying to do the same thing.





What is gerontology?

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