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.


261 Pieces

Order by: Newest First | Oldest First
Caption: Volcanic Mind Melt, Credit: Seth Shostak
The more than a thousand volcanoes that dapple Earth’s surface mark the edges of tectonic plates, spewing hot gas and ash, or boiling over with lav...

Bought by Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, WHCP-LP Cambridge, WRGY, WMUU-LP, KIYU-FM and more


  • Added: Apr 05, 2021
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 13
Caption: Skeptic Check: Useful Delusion, Credit: Seth Shostak
Can self-deception be useful? During the pandemic, it has been fashionable to say that we’re “following the science,” and that our behavior is dete...

Bought by Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, WRGY, KBBI Alaska, WHCP-LP Cambridge, WMUU-LP and more


  • Added: Mar 29, 2021
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 13
Caption: Neanderthal in the Family, Credit: Seth Shostak
Back off, you Neanderthal! It sounds as if you’ve just been dissed, but maybe you should take it as a compliment. Find out how our assessment of N...

Bought by WRGY, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, WHCP-LP Cambridge, WMUU-LP, KAZU Seaside, Calif. and more


  • Added: Mar 22, 2021
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 12
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 accomplishm...

Bought by Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, WHCP-LP Cambridge, KBBI Alaska, WMUU-LP, WRGY and more


  • Added: Mar 15, 2021
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 15
Caption: In Living Color, Credit: Seth Shostak
The world is a colorful place, and human eyes have evolved to take it in – from vermillion red to bright tangerine to cobalt blue. But when we do, ...

Bought by KICI Iowa City, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, WRGY, WHCP-LP Cambridge, WMUU-LP and more


  • Added: Mar 08, 2021
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 12
Caption: Eclectic Company, Credit: Seth Shostak
We present a grab bag of our favorite recent science stories – from how to stop aging to the mechanics of cooking pasta. Also, in accord with our ...

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


  • Added: Mar 01, 2021
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 13
Caption: Creature Discomforts, Credit: Creature Discomforts
We love them, fear them, use them – and sometimes eat them, too. But how well do we really know animals? Our impressions are often simplistic. T...

Bought by Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, KBBI Alaska, WXXI Rochester, WRGY, WMUU-LP and more


  • Added: Feb 22, 2021
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 15
Caption: Granting Immunity, Credit: Seth Shostak
“Diversity or die” could be your new health mantra. Don’t boost your immune system, cultivate it! Like a garden, your body’s defenses benefit from ...

Bought by KWMR, WHCP-LP Cambridge, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, WRGY, KBBI Alaska and more


  • Added: Feb 15, 2021
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 15
Piece image
The first coal-fired stoves changed domestic life, and that changed society. We take you back to that that era, and to millennia prior when iron wa...

Bought by WCBE, WRGY, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, KBBI Alaska, WMUU-LP and more


  • Added: Feb 01, 2021
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 13
Caption: Skeptic Check: Shared Reality, Credit: Seth Shostak
One of the many shocking aspects of the Capitol attack was that it revealed how thoroughly the nation had cleaved into alternate realities. How did...

Bought by KMUN, WRGY, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, KBBI Alaska, WHCP-LP Cambridge and more


  • Added: Jan 25, 2021
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 14
Caption: Supercomputer Showdown, Credit: Seth Shostak
Do you have a hard-to-answer question? The Summit, Sierra, Trinity, Frontier, and Aurora supercomputers are built to tackle it. Summit tops the pet...

Bought by KMUN, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, WRGY, WYAP, KBBI Alaska and more


  • Added: Jan 18, 2021
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 14
Caption: Betting on Pseudoscience, Credit: Seth Shostak
Psychics may not be able to predict the future or sense your thoughts. Nonetheless, they rake in big bucks. But the harm from pseudoscience can go ...

Bought by CHSR-FM 97.9, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, KBBI Alaska, WMUU-LP, WRGY and more


  • Added: Jan 11, 2021
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 15
Caption: Headed For Trouble, Credit: Seth Shostak
The stone heads on Easter Island are an enduring mystery: why were they built and why were they abandoned and destroyed? Old ideas are yielding to ...

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


  • Added: Jan 04, 2021
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 16
Piece image
The reign of Le Grand K has come to an end. After 130 years, this hunk of French metal sitting in a vault will no longer define the kilogram. The n...

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


  • Added: Dec 28, 2020
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 13
Caption: Handling the Holidays, Credit: Seth Shostak
The stress of the holidays can make you want to hide under the covers with a warm cup of cocoa. From gift buying to family gatherings, the holiday...

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


  • Added: Dec 21, 2020
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 12
Piece image
Upcoming asteroid missions will bring back samples from Bennu, and get up-close and personal with seven other small bodies to tell us how the solar...

Bought by CHSR-FM 97.9, KMUN, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, WRGY, KBBI Alaska and more


  • Added: Dec 14, 2020
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 15
Caption: Skeptic Check: Shroom with a View, Credit: Seth Shostak
Magic mushrooms – or psilocybin - may be associated with tripping hippies and Woodstock, but they are now being studied as new treatments for depre...

Bought by CHSR-FM 97.9, KMUN, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, KBBI Alaska, KUCR 88.3 fm Riverside, Calif. and more


  • Added: Dec 07, 2020
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 15
Caption: Bare Bones, Credit: Seth Shostak
Without your skeleton, you’d be a limp bag of protoplasm, unable to move. But bones are also time capsules, preserving much of your personal histor...

Bought by CHSR-FM 97.9, KMUN, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, KBBI Alaska, WRGY and more


  • Added: Nov 30, 2020
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 15
Caption: Into the Deep, Credit: Seth Shostak
Have you ever heard worms arguing? Deep-sea scientists use hydrophones to eavesdrop on “mouth-fighting worms.” It’s one of the many ways scientist...

Bought by CHSR-FM 97.9, KAZU Seaside, Calif., KMUN, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, WHCP-LP Cambridge and more


  • Added: Nov 23, 2020
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 17
Caption: Sex Post Facto, Credit: Seth Shostak
Birds do it, bees do it, but humans may not do it for much longer – at least not for having kids. Instead, babies will be made in the lab, with ge...

Bought by CHSR-FM 97.9, KMUN, WRGY, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, KBBI Alaska and more


  • Added: Nov 16, 2020
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 15