This Idea Is Brilliant: Lost, Overlooked, And Underappreciated Scientific Concepts Everyone Should Know

This Idea Is Brilliant: Lost, Overlooked, And Underappreciated Scientific Concepts Everyone Should Know

Synopsis

The latest volume in the bestselling series from Edge.org—dubbed “the world’s smartest website” by The Guardian—brings together 206 of the world’s most innovative thinkers to discuss the scientific concepts that everyone should know.

As science informs public policy, decision making, and so many aspects of our everyday lives, a scientifically literate society is crucial. In that spirit, Edge.org publisher and author of Know This, John Brockman, asks 206 of the world’s most brilliant minds the 2017 Edge Question: What scientific term or concept ought to be more widely known?

Contributors include: author of The God Delusion RICHARD DAWKINS on using animals’ “Genetic Book of the Dead” to reconstruct ecological history; MacArthur Fellow REBECCA NEWBERGER GOLDSTEIN on “scientific realism,” the idea that scientific theories explain phenomena beyond what we can see and touch; author of Seven Brief Lessons on Physics CARLO ROVELLI on “relative information,” which governs the physical world around us; theoretical physicist LAWRENCE M. KRAUSS on the hidden blessings of “uncertainty”; cognitive scientist and author of The Language Instinct STEVEN PINKER on “The Second Law of Thermodynamics”; biogerontologist AUBREY DE GREY on why “maladaptive traits” have been conserved evolutionarily; musician BRIAN ENO on “confirmation bias” in the internet age; Man Booker-winning author of Atonement IAN MCEWAN on the “Navier-Stokes Equations,” which govern everything from weather prediction to aircraft design and blood flow; plus pieces from RICHARD THALER, JARED DIAMOND, NICHOLAS CARR, JANNA LEVIN, LISA RANDALL, KEVIN KELLY, DANIEL COLEMAN, FRANK WILCZEK, RORY SUTHERLAND, NINA JABLONSKI, MARTIN REES, ALISON GOPNIK, and many, many others.

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Chapters

  • 001 This Idea is Brilliant
    Duration: 19s
  • 002 Preface
    Duration: 03min
  • 003 The Longevity Factor
    Duration: 05min
  • 004 The Illusion of Explanatory Depth
    Duration: 04min
  • 005 Synaptic Transfer
    Duration: 04min
  • 006 The Genetic Book of the Dead
    Duration: 05min
  • 007 Exaptation
    Duration: 06min
  • 008 The Virial Theorem
    Duration: 06min
  • 009 The Second Law of Thermodynamics
    Duration: 06min
  • 010 Emergence
    Duration: 05min
  • 011 Natural Selection
    Duration: 05min
  • 012 DNA
    Duration: 03min
  • 013 Genetic Rescue
    Duration: 04min
  • 014 Positive Feedbacks in Climate Change
    Duration: 07min
  • 015 The Anthropocene
    Duration: 03min
  • 016 The Noosphere
    Duration: 05min
  • 017 The Gaia Hypothesis
    Duration: 04min
  • 018 Ocean Acidification
    Duration: 05min
  • 019 Intertemporal Choice
    Duration: 06min
  • 020 Future Self-Continuity
    Duration: 05min
  • 021 The Climate System
    Duration: 05min
  • 022 The Universe of Algorithms
    Duration: 05min
  • 023 Babylonian Lottery
    Duration: 05min
  • 024 Class Breaks
    Duration: 04min
  • 025 Recursion
    Duration: 01min
  • 026 Referential Opacity
    Duration: 04min
  • 027 Adaptive Preference
    Duration: 05min
  • 028 Antagonistic Pleiotropy
    Duration: 05min
  • 029 Maladaptation
    Duration: 03min
  • 030 Epigenetics
    Duration: 02min
  • 031 The Transcriptome
    Duration: 04min
  • 032 Polygenic Scores
    Duration: 04min
  • 033 Replicator Power
    Duration: 06min
  • 034 Fallibilism
    Duration: 03min
  • 035 Intellectual Honesty
    Duration: 02min
  • 036 Epsilon
    Duration: 02min
  • 037 Systemic Bias
    Duration: 06min
  • 038 Confirmation Bias
    Duration: 31s
  • 039 Negativity Bias
    Duration: 04min
  • 040 Positive Illusions
    Duration: 02min
  • 041 Russell Conjugation
    Duration: 06min
  • 042 Empathic Concern
    Duration: 03min
  • 043 Naive Realism
    Duration: 04min
  • 044 Motivated Reasoning
    Duration: 04min
  • 045 Spatial Agency Bias
    Duration: 03min
  • 046 Counting
    Duration: 04min
  • 047 On Average
    Duration: 03min
  • 048 Number Sense
    Duration: 05min
  • 049 Fermi Problems
    Duration: 04min
  • 050 Exponential
    Duration: 06min
  • 051 Impedance Matching
    Duration: 03min
  • 052 Homeostasis
    Duration: 03min
  • 053 Ashby's Law of Requisite Variety
    Duration: 03min
  • 054 Variety
    Duration: 05min
  • 055 Allostasis
    Duration: 04min
  • 056 The Brainstem
    Duration: 03min
  • 057 The Principle of Least Action
    Duration: 04min
  • 058 The Big Bang
    Duration: 04min
  • 059 Multiverse
    Duration: 06min
  • 060 Gravitational Radiation
    Duration: 04min
  • 061 The Non-Returnable Universe
    Duration: 05min
  • 062 The Big Bounce
    Duration: 05min
  • 063 Affordances
    Duration: 03min
  • 064 Enactivism
    Duration: 06min
  • 065 Paleoneurology
    Duration: 06min
  • 066 Complementarity
    Duration: 03min
  • 067 The Schnitt
    Duration: 05min
  • 068 Matter
    Duration: 05min
  • 069 Substrate Independence
    Duration: 06min
  • 070 PT Symmetry
    Duration: 05min
  • 071 Gravitational Lensing
    Duration: 04min
  • 072 The Cosmological Constant
    Duration: 05min
  • 073 Invariance
    Duration: 02min
  • 074 Unruh Radiation
    Duration: 01min
  • 075 Determinism
    Duration: 06min
  • 076 State
    Duration: 06min
  • 077 Parallel Universes of Quantum Mechanics
    Duration: 04min
  • 078 The Copernican Principle
    Duration: 02min
  • 079 Rheology
    Duration: 01min
  • 080 The Premortem
    Duration: 03min
  • 081 It's About Time
    Duration: 05min
  • 082 Maxwell's Demon
    Duration: 07min
  • 083 Included Middle
    Duration: 04min
  • 084 Relative Deprivation
    Duration: 04min
  • 085 Antisocial Preferences
    Duration: 05min
  • 086 Reciprocal Altruism
    Duration: 06min
  • 087 Isolation Mismatch
    Duration: 06min
  • 088 Mysterianism
    Duration: 03min
  • 089 Relative Information
    Duration: 04min
  • 090 Time Window
    Duration: 03min
  • 091 Effective Theory
    Duration: 03min
  • 092 Coarse Graining
    Duration: 03min
  • 093 Common Sense
    Duration: 06min
  • 094 Evolve as Metaphor
    Duration: 04min
  • 095 The Reynold's Number
    Duration: 02min
  • 096 Metamaterials
    Duration: 03min
  • 097 Stigler's Law of Eponymy
    Duration: 02min
  • 098 Comparative Advantage
    Duration: 04min
  • 099 Premature Optimization
    Duration: 05min
  • 100 Simulated Annealing
    Duration: 04min
  • 101 Attractors
    Duration: 05min
  • 102 Anthropomorphism
    Duration: 05min
  • 103 Cognitive Ethology
    Duration: 07min
  • 104 Mating Opportunity Costs
    Duration: 03min
  • 105 Sex
    Duration: 08min
  • 106 Supernormal Stimuli
    Duration: 04min
  • 107 Costly Signaling
    Duration: 06min
  • 108 Sexual Selection
    Duration: 05min
  • 109 Phylogeny
    Duration: 05min
  • 110 Neoteny
    Duration: 04min
  • 111 The Neural Code
    Duration: 02min
  • 112 Spontaneous Symmetry Breaking
    Duration: 04min
  • 113 Regression to the Mean
    Duration: 02min
  • 114 Scientific Realism
    Duration: 06min
  • 115 Fundamental Attribution Error
    Duration: 04min
  • 116 Habituation
    Duration: 05min
  • 117 General Standardization Theory
    Duration: 05min
  • 118 Scaling
    Duration: 06min
  • 119 The Menger Sponge
    Duration: 04min
  • 120 The Holographic Principle
    Duration: 06min
  • 121 The Navier-Stokes Equations
    Duration: 01min
  • 122 The Scientist
    Duration: 05min
  • 123 Bayes' Theorem
    Duration: 04min
  • 124 Uncertainty
    Duration: 06min
  • 125 Equipoise
    Duration: 04min
  • 126 Ansatz
    Duration: 03min
  • 127 On the Average
    Duration: 06min
  • 128 Blind Analysis
    Duration: 03min
  • 129 Homophily
    Duration: 03min
  • 130 Social Identity
    Duration: 04min
  • 131 Reflective Beliefs
    Duration: 05min
  • 132 Alloparenting
    Duration: 04min
  • 133 Cumulative Culture
    Duration: 06min
  • 134 Life History
    Duration: 05min
  • 135 Haldane's Rule of the Right Size
    Duration: 04min
  • 136 Phenotypic Plasticity
    Duration: 06min
  • 137 Sleeper Sensitive Periods
    Duration: 06min
  • 138 Zone of Proximal Development
    Duration: 03min
  • 139 Length Biased Sampling
    Duration: 07min
  • 140 Construal
    Duration: 06min
  • 141 Double Blind
    Duration: 05min
  • 142 The Law of Small Numbers
    Duration: 04min
  • 143 Commitment Devices
    Duration: 04min
  • 144 Illusory Conjunction
    Duration: 03min
  • 145 Bisociation
    Duration: 04min
  • 146 Conceptual Combination
    Duration: 06min
  • 147 Boolean Logic
    Duration: 04min
  • 148 Neurodiversity
    Duration: 03min
  • 149 Case-Based Reasoning
    Duration: 03min
  • 150 Media Richness
    Duration: 06min
  • 151 Piercean Semiotics
    Duration: 04min
  • 152 Historiometrics
    Duration: 06min
  • 153 Population Thinking
    Duration: 05min
  • 154 Bounded Optimality
    Duration: 03min
  • 155 Satisficing
    Duration: 04min
  • 156 De-Anonimization
    Duration: 04min
  • 157 Functional Equations
    Duration: 06min
  • 158 Decentering
    Duration: 05min
  • 159 Transfer Learning
    Duration: 05min
  • 160 The Symbol-Grounding Problem
    Duration: 06min
  • 161 Abstraction
    Duration: 04min
  • 162 Networks
    Duration: 04min
  • 163 Morphogenetic Fields
    Duration: 02min
  • 164 Herd Immunity
    Duration: 05min
  • 165 Somatic Evolution
    Duration: 03min
  • 166 Criticality
    Duration: 02min
  • 167 Information Pathology
    Duration: 04min
  • 168 Iatrotropic Stimulus
    Duration: 04min
  • 169 Mismatch Conditions
    Duration: 05min
  • 170 Actionable Predictions
    Duration: 04min
  • 171 The Texas Sharpshooter
    Duration: 03min
  • 172 Digital Representation
    Duration: 06min
  • 173 Embodied Thinking
    Duration: 03min
  • 174 The Trolley Problem
    Duration: 03min
  • 175 Mental Emulation
    Duration: 02min
  • 176 Prediction Error Minimization
    Duration: 03min
  • 177 Impossible
    Duration: 03min
  • 178 Optimization
    Duration: 05min
  • 179 The Cancer Seed and Soil Hypothesis
    Duration: 05min
  • 180 Simplistic Disease Progression
    Duration: 02min
  • 181 Effect Modification
    Duration: 07min
  • 182 The Power Law
    Duration: 05min
  • 183 Type I and Type II Errors
    Duration: 05min
  • 184 The Ideal Free Distribution
    Duration: 04min
  • 185 Chronobiology
    Duration: 04min
  • 186 Deliberate Ignorance
    Duration: 04min
  • 187 The Need for Closure
    Duration: 02min
  • 188 Polythetic Entitation
    Duration: 06min
  • 189 Quines
    Duration: 03min
  • 190 Verbal Overshadowing
    Duration: 02min
  • 191 Liminality
    Duration: 02min
  • 192 Possibility Space
    Duration: 04min
  • 193 Alternative Possibilities
    Duration: 04min
  • 194 Indexical Information
    Duration: 05min
  • 195 Emotion Contagion
    Duration: 03min
  • 196 Negative Evidence
    Duration: 05min
  • 197 Emptiness
    Duration: 02min
  • 198 Effect Size
    Duration: 03min
  • 199 Surreal Numbers
    Duration: 05min
  • 200 Standard Deviation
    Duration: 06min
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