The 2012 guide to the people risking their reputations, fortunes, and lives> in pursuit of big ideas

What’s Your Take? Readers Rate Our List of 22

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A Brief History of
Brave Thinking

Since 1857, The Atlantic has presented some of America's most provocative thinkers, people with the bravery to challenge convention and imagine the future.

What We May Think

Vannevar Bush, July 1945

American Civilization

Ralph Waldo Emerson, April 1862

Women Must Weep

Virginia Woolf, May and June 1938

Glandular Activity and Feminine Talent

John Dewey, September 1926

The American Forests

John Muir, August 1897

The Ethics of Animal Experimentation

John Dewey, September 1926

Broken Windows

George L. Kelling and James Q. Wilson, March 1982

Catholic and Patriot

Alfred E. Smith, May 1927

Mars

Percival Lowell, August 1895

Legend: 1 = Not taking much risk | 5 = Risking it all
American Nuns

American Nuns

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Manal al-Sharif

Manal al-Sharif

Unlicensed Driver

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Michael Bloomberg

Michael Bloomberg

Mayor, New York City

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Cory Booker

Cory Booker

Mayor, Newark, New Jersey

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Jay Bradner

Jay Bradner

Research Scientist, Harvard Medical School

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Stan Cox

Stan Cox

Plant Breeder/Author

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John DeGioia

John DeGioia

President, Georgetown University

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Lena Dunham

Lena Dunham

Writer/Director/Actress

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Chen Guangcheng

Chen Guangcheng

Civil-Rights Activist

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Khadija Ismayilova

Khadija Ismayilova

Journalist

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Fawzia Koofi

Fawzia Koofi

Member of Parliament, Afghanistan

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Geoff Marcy

Geoff Marcy

Astronomer

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Frank Ocean

Frank Ocean

Singer/Songwriter

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Gene Powell

Gene Powell

Chairman, University of Texas System Board of Regents

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Pussy Riot

Pussy Riot

Punk-Rock Collective

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Gina Raimondo

Gina Raimondo

General Treasurer, State of Rhode Island

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John Roberts

John Roberts

Chief Justice, United States Supreme Court

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Robert Spitzer

Robert Spitzer

Retired Professor of Psychiatry

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Oliver White

Oliver White

Reverend, Grace Community United Church of Christ

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Taylor Wilson

Taylor Wilson

Nuclear Scientist

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Jun Xia

Jun Xia

Project-Design Architect, Shanghai Tower

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Sticker Lady

Sticker Lady

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