Our Favorite Year

When it comes to thinking big, it doesn’t get much bigger than determining the most significant year in human history. The Economist’s MoreIntelligentLife.com has launched a poll asking visitors to weigh in on the subject. The winner so far? 1439, the year Gutenberg invented the printing press. It is followed closely by 5 BC, the year of Jesus’s birth. 1953, the year DNA was discovered, is a distant third. And what was the most recent year suggested by the editors? This one.

2009 is the year of the Copenhagen Climate Summit—possibly humanity’s last chance to come to an international agreement on how to confront climate change.  The Economist deemed this an important enough moment to rank among the most vital ever.  Margot Wallström, the European Commission Vice-President, may agree with this sentiment: she stressed the importance of the meeting in a recently posted interview. Novelist and journalist Kurt Anderson suggested to Big Think that the time period around the 1840s is hugely underrated in terms of importance; he calls it the moment that technological innovation was translated into useful products. Chef Jacques Pepin, meanwhile, explained the importance of food innovation to human history. What are your thoughts on unrecognized but vital years in our evolution?

Big Think
Sponsored by Lumina Foundation

Upvote/downvote each of the videos below!

As you vote, keep in mind that we are looking for a winner with the most engaging social venture pitch - an idea you would want to invest in.

Keep reading Show less

7 fascinating UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Here are 7 often-overlooked World Heritage Sites, each with its own history.

Photo by Raunaq Patel on Unsplash
Culture & Religion
  • UNESCO World Heritage Sites are locations of high value to humanity, either for their cultural, historical, or natural significance.
  • Some are even designated as World Heritage Sites because humans don't go there at all, while others have felt the effects of too much human influence.
  • These 7 UNESCO World Heritage Sites each represent an overlooked or at-risk facet of humanity's collective cultural heritage.
Keep reading Show less

Scientists create a "lifelike" material that has metabolism and can self-reproduce

An innovation may lead to lifelike evolving machines.

Shogo Hamada/Cornell University
Surprising Science
  • Scientists at Cornell University devise a material with 3 key traits of life.
  • The goal for the researchers is not to create life but lifelike machines.
  • The researchers were able to program metabolism into the material's DNA.
Keep reading Show less

Scientists discover how to trap mysterious dark matter

A new method promises to capture an elusive dark world particle.

Surprising Science
  • Scientists working on the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) devised a method for trapping dark matter particles.
  • Dark matter is estimated to take up 26.8% of all matter in the Universe.
  • The researchers will be able to try their approach in 2021, when the LHC goes back online.
Keep reading Show less