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Quiz: What's the Big Idea?

Sure, we're the site to come to if you want to know the difference between a router and a switch or what differentiates a virus from a worm. However, we also like to take a broader view and address the larger questions about the nature of our home planet and cohabitants.

For example, have you ever wondered: "What's the meaning of Life?" ( 42 , of course). Okay, that one was a joke. We can't actually simplify the totality of existence to two digits -- we'll leave that to Douglas Adams. But we do take a stab at some of the grander ideas. How many of them can you identify?

1. Kevin Bacon's the poster boy for this theory, which maintains that anyone on the planet can be connected to any other person on the planet through a chain of acquaintances that has no more than five intermediaries
What's the Big Idea?

2. Can the flutter of a butterfly's wings in Brazil set off a tornado in Texas? Rather than the actual lack of order implied by its name, this theory is about an apparent lack of order in complex systems that nevertheless obey particular laws or rules.
What's the Big Idea?

3. According to this theory, matter causes space to curve: Gravitation is not a force, as understood by Newtonian physics, but a curved field in the space-time continuum that is actually created by the presence of mass.
What's the Big Idea?

4. This theory posits that all variations of matter and energy are created by specific vibrations of teeny, tiny strings. Some think it could be the unified field theory that Einstein sought: one that could explain gravity as well as electromagnetic forces.
What's the Big Idea?

5. This newer concept describes the critical point in an evolving situation that leads to a new and irreversible development. In a popular book by Malcolm Gladwell, it refers to a moment in time when an idea or practice emerges from rarity into common usage.
What's the Big Idea?

6. Carl Jung came up with this term to describe an "acausal connecting principle" in which events in the external world align to the experience of the individual, perhaps mirroring or echoing personal concerns or thoughts.
What's the Big Idea?

7. The two major interpretations of this theory are the Copenhagen interpretation and the Many Worlds Theory. Either way, this demanding theory has major implications about the nature of the world we live in.
What's the Big Idea?

8. This is the principle that prompted a frustrated Einstein to protest that "God does not play dice with the Universe." It's the concept that precise, simultaneous measurement of some complementary variables -- such as the position and momentum of a subatomic particle -- is impossible.
What's the Big Idea?

9. Described in a paper called 'Forget how the crow flies,' this theory proposes that the best means of achieving a goal may often be to take an indirect approach rather than a direct one.
What's the Big Idea?

10. Einstein called this phenomenon "spooky action at a distance." It describes the way that particles of energy/matter can become correlated to predictably interact with each other, regardless of how far they are separated.
What's the Big Idea?

How many big ideas could you identify? Let us know!

Still thirsting for knowledge? See our collection of quizzes.

This was last updated in December 2010

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