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.


282 Pieces

Order by: Newest First | Oldest First
Caption: Make Space for Animals, Credit: Taylor Maggiacomo
Long before Yuri Gagarin became the first human to go into space, Laika, a stray dog, crossed the final frontier. Find out what other surprising sp...

Bought by WMUU-LP, WERA-LP, KIYU-FM, KMRE-LP Bellingham, Wash., WHCP-LP Cambridge and more


  • Added: Jan 24, 2022
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 8
Caption: Testing Your Metal, Credit: Seth Shostak
Catalytic converters are disappearing. If you’ve had yours stolen, you know that rare earth metals are valuable. But these metals are in great dema...

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


  • Added: Jan 17, 2022
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 14
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 WCAI / WNAN Cape & Islands, Mass., KMUN, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, WRGY, KBBI Alaska and more


  • Added: Jan 10, 2022
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 16
Caption: What's a Few Degrees?, Credit: Seth Shostak
Brace yourself for heatwave “Lucifer.” Dangerous heatwaves may soon become so common that we give them names, just like hurricanes. This is one of ...

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


  • Added: Jan 03, 2022
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 16
Caption: Mycology Education, Credit: Seth Shostak
Beneath our feet is a living network just as complex and extensive as the root systems in a forest. Fungi, which evolved in the oceans, were among ...

Bought by KTXK, CHSR-FM 97.9, WCAI / WNAN Cape & Islands, Mass., KMUN, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting and more


  • Added: Dec 27, 2021
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 16
Caption: Attack of the Mutants, Credit: Seth Shostak
The omicron variant is surging. More contagious than delta, omicron demonstrates how viruses use mutations to quickly adapt. Mutations drive evolut...

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


  • Added: Dec 20, 2021
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 13
Caption: Hubble and Beyond, Credit: Seth Shostak
The universe is not just expanding; it’s accelerating. Supermassive black holes are hunkered down at the center of our galaxy and just about every ...

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


  • Added: Dec 13, 2021
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 15
Caption: Identifying UAPs, Credit: Seth Shostak
The Pentagon’s report on UAPs (Unidentified Aerial Phenomena) said nothing about the possibility that some might be alien spacecraft. Nonetheless, ...

Bought by KTXK, CHSR-FM 97.9, WUFT, KMUN, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting and more


  • Added: Dec 06, 2021
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 17
Caption: Talk the Walk, Credit: Seth Shostak
Birds and bees do it … and so do fish. In a discovery that highlights the adaptive benefits of walking, scientists have discovered fish that can wa...

Bought by KTXK, CHSR-FM 97.9, WUFT, KMUN, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting and more


  • Added: Nov 29, 2021
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 17
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 KTXK, CHSR-FM 97.9, KMUN, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, WHCP-LP Cambridge and more


  • Added: Nov 22, 2021
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 15
Piece image
Life nearby? We’ve not yet found any on our favorite planet, Mars. But even if Mars is sterile, could we ever change that by terraforming it? Or se...

Bought by KTXK, CHSR-FM 97.9, KMUN, KZUM, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting and more


  • Added: Nov 15, 2021
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 15
Caption: Your Inner Tree, Credit: Seth Shostak
Declining biodiversity is a problem as fraught as climate change. Loss of habitat, monoculture crops, and the damming of waterways all lead to mass...

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


  • Added: Nov 08, 2021
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 13
Caption: Dimming the Sun, Credit: Seth Shostak
Does geoengineering offer a Plan B if nations at the U.N. climate meeting can't reduce carbon emissions? The Glasgow meeting has been called “the l...

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


  • Added: Nov 01, 2021
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 12
Caption: Brain Gain, Credit: Seth Shostak
Looking to boost your brainpower? Luckily, there are products promising to help – smart drugs, neurofeedback exercises, and specially-designed vi...

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


  • Added: Oct 25, 2021
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 11
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 CHSR-FM 97.9, KZUM, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, WRGY, WHCP-LP Cambridge and more


  • Added: Oct 18, 2021
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 13
Caption: Fuhgeddaboudit, Credit: Seth Shostak
A thousand years ago, most people didn’t own a single book. The only way to access knowledge was to consult their memory. But technology – from pap...

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


  • Added: Oct 11, 2021
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 15
Caption: Home Invasions, Credit: Seth Shostak
As we struggle to control a viral invader that moves silently across the globe and into its victims, we are also besieged by other invasions. Murde...

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


  • Added: Oct 04, 2021
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 14
Caption: AI: Where Does It End, Credit: Seth Shostak
The benefits of artificial intelligence are manifest and manifold, but can we recognize the drawbacks … and avoid them in time? In this episode, ...

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


  • Added: Sep 27, 2021
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 14
Caption: 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, WRGY, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, WHCP-LP Cambridge, KIYU-FM and more


  • Added: Sep 20, 2021
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 13
Caption: Animals Being Jerks, Credit: Seth Shostak
They’re cute and cuddly. But they can also be obnoxious. Science writer Mary Roach has numerous tales about how our animal friends don’t always bow...

Bought by KAZU Seaside, Calif., CHSR-FM 97.9, WRGY, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, WUFT and more


  • Added: Sep 13, 2021
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 14