Big Picture Science

Series produced by Big Picture Science

Series image

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.


241 Pieces

Order by: Newest First | Oldest First
Caption: On Thin Ice
Ice is more than a repository for water that would otherwise raise sea levels. It’s part of Earth’s cooling system, a barrier preventing decaying o...

Bought by KMRE-LP, WERA-LP, KMXT, KICI, and RadioFreePalmer


  • Added: Aug 03, 2020
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 5
Caption: Skeptic Check: Know-It-Alls
Think you’re some kind of expert? Join the club. It’s one thing to question authority; another to offer up your untrained self as its replacement. ...

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


  • Added: Jul 27, 2020
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 11
Caption: Something in the Air, Credit: Seth Shostak
Our response to the virus is changing the air in unexpected ways. A pandemic-driven pause on travel has produced clear skies and a world-wide air q...

Bought by KMUN, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, WRGY, WMUU-LP, WHCP-LP and more


  • Added: Jul 20, 2020
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 12
Caption: COVID Curiosities, Credit: Danielle Futselaar
Some dogs and cats have become sick with COVID. But it’s not just domestic critters that are vulnerable: zoo animals have fallen ill too. There’s m...

Bought by KMUN, CHSR-FM 97.9, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, Royalton Community Radio, WMUU-LP and more


  • Added: Jul 13, 2020
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 16
Caption: Creative Brains, Credit: Seth Shostak
Many animals are industrious and clever, but humans are unique in their creative and inventive impulses. Composer Anthony Brandt and neuroscientist...

Bought by CHSR-FM 97.9, KMUN, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, Royalton Community Radio, WMUU-LP and more


  • Added: Jul 06, 2020
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 13
Caption: Animals Like Us, Credit: Seth Shostak
Laughing rats, sorrowful elephants, joyful chimpanzees. The more carefully we observe, and the more we learn about animals, the closer their emoti...

Bought by CHSR-FM 97.9, KMUN, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, Royalton Community Radio, WMUU-LP and more


  • Added: Jun 29, 2020
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 13
Caption: Let's Stick Together, Credit: Seth Shostak
Crowds driving you crazy? Remember, we evolved to be together. Humans are not only social, we’re driven to care for one another. We look at some...

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


  • Added: Jun 22, 2020
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 12
Caption: Skeptic Check: Data Bias, Credit: Seth Shostak
Sexist snow plowing? Data that guide everything from snow removal schedules to heart research often fail to consider gender. Human bias also infect...

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


  • Added: Jun 15, 2020
  • Length: 54:01
  • Purchases: 13
Caption: Race and Covid
While citizens take to the streets to protest racist violence, the pandemic has its own brutal inequities. Black, Latino, and Native American peopl...

Bought by CHSR-FM 97.9, KMUN, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, Royalton Community Radio, WPCA-LP and more


  • Added: Jun 08, 2020
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 14
Caption: Soap, Skin, Sleep, Credit: Seth Shostak
Some safeguards against COVID-19 don’t require a medical breakthrough. Catching sufficient Z’s makes for a healthy immune system. And, while you wa...

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


  • Added: Jun 01, 2020
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 14
Piece image
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 CHSR-FM 97.9, KMUN, KAZU, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, Royalton Community Radio and more


  • Added: May 25, 2020
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 15
Caption: Vaccine, When?, Credit: Seth Shostak
It will be the shot heard ‘round the world, once it comes. But exactly when can we expect a COVID vaccine? We discuss timelines, how it would wor...

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


  • Added: May 18, 2020
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 14
Caption: To the Bat Cave
To fight a pandemic, you first need to understand where a virus comes from. That quest takes disease ecologist Jon Epstein to gloomy caverns where ...

Bought by CHSR-FM 97.9, KTRT RADIO INC, KMUN, WUFT, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting and more


  • Added: May 11, 2020
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 16
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 CHSR-FM 97.9, KMUN, RadioFreePalmer, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, Royalton Community Radio and more


  • Added: May 04, 2020
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 13
Caption: Covid Conspiracy
Nature abhors a vacuum, but conspiracy theorists love one. While we wait for scientists to nail down the how and why of the coronavirus, opportuni...

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


  • Added: Apr 30, 2020
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 11
Caption: Treating the Virus, Credit: Seth Shostak
It’s not like waiting for Godot, because he never arrived. A coronavirus vaccine will come. But it is still months away. Meanwhile, scientists a...

Bought by KOJB 90.1 FM The eagle, Royalton Community Radio, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, KUNM, WRGY and more


  • Added: Apr 20, 2020
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 16
Caption: The Other Living World
Reason for hope is just one thing that ecologist Carl Safina can offer. He understands why many of us turn to nature to find solace during this str...

Bought by KOJB 90.1 FM The eagle, CHSR-FM 97.9, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, Royalton Community Radio, WPCA-LP and more


  • Added: Apr 13, 2020
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 15
Caption: Zombies, Bigfoot, and Max Brooks
What do a zombie attack and a viral pandemic have in common? They are both frightening, mindless, and relentless in their assault. And both requi...

Bought by CHSR-FM 97.9, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, Royalton Community Radio, WPCA-LP, WMUU-LP and more


  • Added: Apr 06, 2020
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 14
Caption: Let's Take a Paws, Credit: Seth Shostak
Humans aren’t the only animals stressed-out by social distancing. Narwhals send out echolocation clicks to locate their buddies and ease their lon...

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


  • Added: Mar 30, 2020
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 13
Piece image
“Climate change at warp speed” is the way one scientist described the coronavirus outbreak. Recorded before a live audience at the Seattle AAAS mee...

Bought by CHSR-FM 97.9, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, Royalton Community Radio, KICI, KMRE-LP and more


  • Added: Mar 23, 2020
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 14