Cover image of Big Ideas (Video)

Big Ideas (Video)

Big Ideas offers lectures on a variety of thought-provoking topics which range across politics, culture, economics, art history, science.... By nature of its lecture format, pacing and inquisitive approach, it is the antithesis of the prevailing sound-bite television norm. The simple, bold concept is a victory of substance over style.

Weekly hand curated podcast episodes for learning

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The best episodes ranked using user listens.

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Simon Winchester on his book The Meaning of Everything

Simon Winchester discusses his book The Meaning of Everything: The Story of the Oxford English Dictionary.

1hr 2mins

9 Jun 2012

Rank #1

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Marcus Chown on 10 Bonkers Things About the Universe

Marcus Chown of New Scientist Magazine on his Top 10 Bonkers Things About the Universe


9 Jul 2011

Rank #2

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Alexander Nehamas -individual character and ideas of beauty

Big Ideas presents Princeton University professor of Philosophy and Comparative Literature, Alexander Nehamas, on how individual character defines our ideas of what is beautiful


27 Aug 2011

Rank #3

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Robert Fulford on A World Reconfigured: Politics and Perceptions Since 9-11

Canadian author, journalist and broadcaster Robert Fulford delivers his 2003 lecture A World Reconfigured: Politics and Perceptions Since 9-11


6 Jun 2009

Rank #4

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Gaspar Tamas on The Failure of Liberal Democracy

Hungarian philosopher, Gaspar Tamas,on The Failure of Liberal Democracy in Eastern Europe and Everywhere Else. His lecture was delivered at the Munk School of Global Affairs on September 20, 2011. Tamas is a prolific writer of essays with a wide-ranging and distinguished career in academics and government. He was also a leading figure in the East European dissident movements.


26 Nov 2011

Rank #5

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Philip Ball Q and A following his lecture on Curiosity

Philip Ball - Question and Answer session following the lecture based on his book, Curiosity: How Science Became Interested in Everything


5 Jan 2013

Rank #6

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John Ralston Saul on what defines Canada as a nation

John Ralston Saul argues that Canada is a Metis nation, critically influenced and shaped by aboriginal ideas.


16 May 2009

Rank #7

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Clare Hasenkampf - Best Lecturer Finalist - on Chromosomes Dividing: How It Is Done and Why It Matters

Clare Hasenkampf from the Biological Sciences department at the University of Toronto Scarborough delivers her competition lecture entitled "Chromosomes Dividing: How It Is Done and Why It Matters".


22 Mar 2009

Rank #8

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Paul Stevens - Best Lecturer Finalist - on Milton's Satan

Paul Stevens from the English department at the University of Toronto St. George delivers his competition lecture entitled "Milton's Satan".


14 Mar 2009

Rank #9

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Nick Mount interviews novelist Sam Lipsyte

University of Toronto English professor, Nick Mount, in conversation with author Sam Lipsyte. The interview was taped following Mount's lecture on Lipsyte's novel Home Land


17 Sep 2011

Rank #10

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Stephen Hawking: The Power of Ideas

Ivan Semeniuk, Chief of Corespondents for Nature leads a discussion centered on the ideas and thoughts of Stephen Hawking. Neil Turok, Julie Payette, Rebecca Saxe and S. James Gates, Jr. cover topics including unfied theory, cosmology and colonization of space.


21 Sep 2011

Rank #11

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Noam Chomsky on the State-Corporate Complex

Academic, author and political activist, Noam Chomsky, on the State-Corporate Complex: A Threat to Freedom and Survival. Chomsky's lecture was delivered at the Hart House Great Hall at the University of Toronto on April 7, 2011.


29 Oct 2011

Rank #12

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Rod Carley - Best Lecturer Finalist - on Adapting Shakespeare within a Modern Canadian Context

Top ten finalist, Professor Rod Carley, from the Communication Arts department at Canadore College in North Bay is profiled and delivers his competition lecture entitled, Adapting Shakespeare Within a Modern Canadian Context.


28 Mar 2009

Rank #13

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Merv Mosher - Best Lecturer Finalist - on Statistics: What's the Point?

Merv Mosher from the Kinesiology and Health Science department at York University in Toronto is profiled and delivers his lecture entitled, Statistics: What's the Point?


29 Mar 2009

Rank #14

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Paul Steinhardt on Impossible Crystals

Physicist Paul Steinhardt discusses the creation of "Impossible crystals": quasi-crystals with five-fold symmetry previously believed impossible.


23 Jun 2012

Rank #15

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John Gray on The Immortalization Commission

Philosopher and author, John Gray, on The Immortalization Commission: Science and the Strange Quest to Cheat Death. In the late nineteenth century and as a consequence of Darwinism, many thinkers turned to science to solve the riddle of death. Gray explores humankind's dangerous striving toward a scientific version of immortality.


15 Oct 2011

Rank #16

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Andrei Markovits on European Anti-Americanism

Big Ideas presents University of Michigan professor, Andrei Markovits, on European Anti-Americanism

1hr 1min

10 Sep 2011

Rank #17

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Bernard-Henry Levy's

Philosopher and journalist Bernard-Henri Levy critiques present-day leftist politics for its anti-liberalism, anti-Americanism, and for being soft on radical Islamism.


18 Apr 2009

Rank #18

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Seth Lloyd on Programming the Universe

Seth Llyod is a Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). His talk, "Programming the Universe", is about the computational power of atoms, electrons, and elementary particles.


21 Jul 2012

Rank #19

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The Age of Unequals: An Evening with Richard Wilkinson

Armine Yalnizyan, Jordan Peterson, and Matthew Mendelsohn join epidemiologist Richard Wilkinson to discuss why equality is better for everyone, the theme of Wilkinson's book, The Spirit Level


23 Jul 2011

Rank #20