Big Picture Science

Series produced by Big Picture Science

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Big Picture Science is a weekly one-hour science magazine that connects ideas in surprising and humorous ways to illuminate the origins and evolution of life and technology on this planet… and beyond.

From free-thinking robots... to the recipe for dark matter... to the mix-and-match genes of synthetic biology, we have it all! One episode a month, Skeptic Check, is devoted to critical thinking.

Produced at the SETI Institute and hosted by Seth Shostak and Molly Bentley.

Big Picture Science can be found on iTunes and other podcast sites. Radio stations carrying the program are listed on our "listening" page at radio.seti.org

The program is freely available to radio stations for broadcast.

The show began with the title Are We Alone? in 2002.


205 Pieces

Order by: Newest First | Oldest First
Caption: New Water Worlds, Credit: Seth Shostak
The water is coming. By century’s end, the oceans could be anywhere from 2 to 6 feet higher, threatening millions of people and low-lying propert...

Bought by KMRE-LP, RadioFreePalmer, KCSB-FM, WRGY, and KICI


  • Added: May 20, 2019
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 5
Caption: Is Life Inevitable?, Credit: Seth Shostak
A new theory about life’s origins updates Darwin’s warm little pond. Scientists say they’ve created the building blocks of biology in steaming hot...

Bought by Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, Royalton Community Radio, Gallatin Valley Community Radio, WHCP-LP, KBBI and more


  • Added: May 13, 2019
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 10
Caption: Rethinking Chernobyl, Credit: Seth Shostak
The catastrophic explosion at Chernobyl triggered a full-scale destruction of the reactor in the worst nuclear reactor accident in history. But res...

Bought by KBBI, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, Royalton Community Radio, Gallatin Valley Community Radio, WMUU-LP and more


  • Added: May 06, 2019
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 11
Caption: Identity Crisis, Credit: Seth Shostak
DNA is the gold standard of all identification methods. Except when it’s not. So, while we refine our ability to work with the double helix, scie...

Bought by WRGY, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, Royalton Community Radio, WMUU-LP, KBBI and more


  • Added: Apr 29, 2019
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 8
Caption: Gained in Translation, Credit: Seth Shostak
Hey, Alexa, why don’t you laugh at my jokes? Teaching a computer to recognize humor is difficult because no clear definition of humor exists. Send...

Bought by Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, Royalton Community Radio, WHCP-LP, WYSO, KCSB-FM and more


  • Added: Apr 22, 2019
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 9
Caption: Free Range Dinosaurs, Credit: Seth Shostak
Dinosaurs are once again stomping their way across the silver screen. But these colossal beasts stole the show long before CGI brought them roarin...

Bought by Gallatin Valley Community Radio, WRST-FM Oshkosh, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, Royalton Community Radio, KBBI and more


  • Added: Apr 15, 2019
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 10
Caption: Go With the Flow, Credit: Seth Shostak
Solid materials get all the credit. Don’t get us wrong, we depend on their firmness for bridges, bones, and bento boxes. But liquids do us a solid...

Bought by WRST-FM Oshkosh, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, KICI, Royalton Community Radio, WMUU-LP and more


  • Added: Apr 08, 2019
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 9
Caption: DecodeHer, Credit: Seth Shostak
They were pioneers in their fields, yet their names are scarcely known – simply because they didn’t have a Y chromosome. We examine the accomplish...

Bought by WRST-FM Oshkosh, Royalton Community Radio, KICI, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, WHCP-LP and more


  • Added: Apr 01, 2019
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 8
Caption: You Are Exposed, Credit: Seth Shostak
There is no place like “ome.” Your microbiome is highly influential in determining your health and the course of disease. But it’s not the only “...

Bought by Gallatin Valley Community Radio, WRST-FM Oshkosh, Royalton Community Radio, KICI, WHCP-LP and more


  • Added: Mar 25, 2019
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 10
Caption: Skeptic Check: Political Scientist, Credit: Seth Shostak
Many scientists Marched for Science; now some are diving deeper into political engagement: challenging public policy and even running for office th...

Bought by RadioFreePalmer, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, WHCP-LP, KBBI, WMUU-LP and more


  • Added: Mar 18, 2019
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 8
Caption: Radical Cosmology, Credit: Seth Shostak
400 years ago, some ideas about the cosmos were too scandalous to mention. When the Dominican friar Giordano Bruno suggested the existence of plan...

Bought by WRST-FM Oshkosh, CHSR-FM 97.9, KICI, RadioFreePalmer, Royalton Community Radio and more


  • Added: Feb 18, 2019
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 11
Caption: Keeping Humans in the Loop, Credit: Seth Shostak
As our world becomes more challenging, can we maintain control of our own future? Threats arise not just from climate change or inventions such as...

Bought by KAZU, WRST-FM Oshkosh, CHSR-FM 97.9, KICI, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting and more


  • Added: Feb 11, 2019
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 12
Caption: Skeptic Check: Astrology Ascending, Credit: Seth Shostak
Mars may be in retrograde, but interest in astrology is rising. People are increasingly drawn to this ancient practice for insight and guidance. T...

Bought by WRST-FM Oshkosh, CHSR-FM 97.9, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, Royalton Community Radio, KCSB-FM and more


  • Added: Feb 04, 2019
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 8
Caption: Rip Van Winkle Worm, Credit: Seth Shostak
Your shower pipes are alive. So are your sinks, books, and floorboards. New studies of our homes are revealing just what lives there, from bacter...

Bought by WRST-FM Oshkosh, CHSR-FM 97.9, WRGY, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, Royalton Community Radio and more


  • Added: Jan 21, 2019
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 11
Caption: True Grit, Credit: Seth Shostak
Without sand, engineering would be stuck in the Middle Ages and Silicon Valley would be, well, just a valley. Sand is the building material of mod...

Bought by CHSR-FM 97.9, WRST-FM Oshkosh, WRGY, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, WHCP-LP and more


  • Added: Jan 14, 2019
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 10
Caption: Sci-Fi From the Future, Credit: Seth Shostak
Polls show that most Americans are uneasy about the unchecked growth of artificial intelligence and genetic engineering. We all hope to guide socie...

Bought by CHSR-FM 97.9, WRST-FM Oshkosh, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, Gallatin Valley Community Radio, WHCP-LP and more


  • Added: Jan 07, 2019
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 11
Caption: Yule Like This, Credit: Seth Shostak
Fir tree needles embedded in carpet are a holiday headache. Why not opt for a genetically-modified, needle-retaining tree instead? Also, science ...

Bought by WUFT, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, KBBI, WMUU-LP, KSFR and more


  • Added: Dec 17, 2018
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 8
Caption: Skeptic Check: Science Breaking Bad, Credit: Seth Shostak
The scientific method is tried and true. The fallible humans behind the research, however, not so much. Find out why the hyper-competitive pursuit...

Bought by CHSR-FM 97.9, WHCP-LP, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, WRGY, RadioFreePalmer and more


  • Added: Dec 10, 2018
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 15
Caption: Space Rocks!, Credit: Seth Shostak
Some astronomers have proposed that an oddly-shaped object that recently passed through our solar system could be an alien artifact, and not an ast...

Bought by CHSR-FM 97.9, KCSB-FM, WUFT, KFOI Radio, WRST-FM Oshkosh and more


  • Added: Nov 19, 2018
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 11
Caption: Skeptic Check: Science Denial, Credit: Seth Shostak
Climate change isn’t happening. Vaccines make you sick. When it comes to threats to public or environmental health, a surprisingly large fraction...

Bought by CHSR-FM 97.9, KCSB-FM, KFOI Radio, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, Royalton Community Radio and more


  • Added: Nov 12, 2018
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 11