A Brief History of Big Think: Celebrating 4 Years
From 2011-2014, Daniel Honan was the Managing Editor at Big Think. Prior to Big Think, Daniel was Vice President of Production for Plum TV, a niche cable network he helped launch in 2002. The production team he oversaw won over two dozen Emmy awards. Daniel has created numerous shows and documentaries for television, and his film credits include Stealing the Fire, a documentary on the black market for nuclear weapons technology.
Follow Daniel on Twitter @DanielHonan
It was four years ago today that Big Think was launched by co-founders Victoria Montgomery Brown and Peter Hopkins to immediate fanfare. That day The New York Times hailed Big Think as "a Web site that could do for intellectuals what YouTube, the popular video-sharing site, did for bulldogs on skateboards." A few days later, Peter Hopkins appeared on The Colbert Report, sporting what was referred to as a gravitas-evoking beard.
In the years that have followed, Big Think has achieved a number of important milestones. We were named by Time Magazine the #1 news and information site for 2011. Also last year we launched The Floating University in partnership with the Jack Parker Corporation. The Floating University offers online courses and seminars for individuals and institutions. The inaugural course, Great Big Ideas, was offered this past semester at Harvard, Yale and Bard, and it was the most popular course at each college.
A President, A Repentant Former Governor and an Unrepentant Novelist
We have interviewed over 3,000 experts over the last four years. To commemorate our four-year anniversary, we've compiled a number of videos that have helped put Big Think on the map. These videos showcase what we believe are some of the most important qualities that make Big Think unique. Our guests are frank, intellectually open and endlessly provocative. Here are three that stand out in particular.
The first is an interview with former President Jimmy Carter, in which Carter said it is now time for a gay president. This idea quickly spread and formed the basis of this Maureen Dowd column in The New York Times in 2010.
Watch the video here:
Was it true about the socks?
In an exclusive interview following the "Client 9" scandal, Eliot Spitzer came on Big Think for some redemption, and he shared his thoughts on love. While Gawker declared it Spitzer's "best interview yet," The New York Post was less forgiving, dubbing the former governor "Stupid Cupid" for his "cringe-inducing comments" in a "bizarre, soul-baring interview" on Big Think. What do you think?
Watch the video here:
Does Oprah Part the Seas?
You may remember Jonathan Franzen's public spat with Oprah Winfrey in 2001. After Oprah selected Franzen's novel The Corrections for her book club, virtually guarenteeing the book would be a best-seller, Franzen complained that Oprah's endorsement would affect his standing within "the high art literary tradition." Seven years later, Franzen was unrepentant.
Watch the video here:
How Can I Get More Out of Big Think?
Scientists have developed new ways of understanding how the biological forces of death drive important life processes.
- Researchers have found new ways on how decomposing plants and animals contribute to the life cycle.
- After a freak mass herd death of 300 reindeer, scientists were able to study a wide range of the decomposition processes.
- Promoting the necrobiome research will open up new areas of inquiry and even commerce.
What do we see from watching birds move across the country?
- A total of eight billion birds migrate across the U.S. in the fall.
- The birds who migrate to the tropics fair better than the birds who winter in the U.S.
- Conservationists can arguably use these numbers to encourage the development of better habitats in the U.S., especially if temperatures begin to vary in the south.
Explore how alcohol affects your brain, from the first sip at the bar to life-long drinking habits.
- Alcohol is the world's most popular drug and has been a part of human culture for at least 9,000 years.
- Alcohol's effects on the brain range from temporarily limiting mental activity to sustained brain damage, depending on levels consumed and frequency of use.
- Understanding how alcohol affects your brain can help you determine what drinking habits are best for you.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.