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.


278 Pieces

Order by: Newest First | Oldest First
Caption: The Heat is On, Credit: Seth Shostak
Monster Typhoon Haiyen and other threats to health may be the new normal in a warmer world. Can we make the hard decisions needed to protect ourse...

Bought by C89.5 - KNHC Seattle, WRGY, KREV-LP, WNJR, and KSKQ


  • Added: Nov 18, 2013
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 5
Caption: Group Think, Credit: Seth Shostak
If two is company and three a crowd, what’s the ideal number to write a play or invent a new operating system? Experts disagree whether creativity...

Bought by WRGY and KREV-LP


  • Added: Dec 23, 2013
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 2
Caption: Some Like It Cold, Credit: Seth Shostak
We all may prefer the goldilocks zone - not too hot, not too cold. But most of the universe is bitterly cold. We can learn a lot if we're willing...

Bought by KRPS, WRGY, KREV-LP, WRST-FM Oshkosh, WRIR and more


  • Added: Dec 16, 2013
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 7
Caption: Animal Instinct, Credit: Seth Shostak
What humans can learn from our hairy, feathered, four-legged friends; we may wear suits and play Sudoku, but Homo sapiens are animals all the same.

Bought by WRGY, WPSU, WRIR, WNJR, and KREV-LP


  • Added: Dec 30, 2013
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 5
Caption: Can We Talk?, Credit: Seth Shostak
The evolution of language, “Dr Bugs” on chemical messaging among ants, and mirror neurons that communicate with other brains without you saying a w...

Bought by KSKQ, KKWE Niijii Radio, WRGY, WPSU, KREV-LP and more


  • Added: Jan 06, 2014
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 7
Caption: The Pest of Us, Credit: Seth Shostak
Picture a cockroach skittering across your kitchen. Eeww. Now imagine it served as an entrée at your local restaurant. There’s good reason these ...

Bought by 91.7 WHUS Storrs, WMUU-LP, RadioFreePalmer, WRIR, WRGY and more


  • Added: Sep 07, 2015
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 8
Caption: Stranded, Credit: Seth Shostak
Imagine not knowing where you are – and no one else knowing either. Today, that’s pretty unlikely. Digital devices pinpoint our location within ...

Bought by RadioFreePalmer, 91.7 WHUS Storrs, WMUU-LP, WRIR, WRGY and more


  • Added: Sep 14, 2015
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 8
Caption: Gene Hack, Man, Credit: Seth Shostak
Computers and DNA have a few things in common. Both use digital codes and are prone to viruses. And, it seems, both can be hacked. From restori...

Bought by WRGY and WNJR


  • Added: Feb 10, 2014
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 2
Caption: Before the Big Bang, Credit: Seth Shostak
It’s one of the biggest questions you can ask: has the universe existed forever? The Big Bang is supposedly the moment it all began. But now scie...

Bought by WRGY, KREV-LP, WRST-FM Oshkosh, KFOK-LPFM, WRIR and more


  • Added: Feb 24, 2014
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 7
Caption: We Heart Robots, Credit: Seth Shostak
Here come the machines. Meet the prototypes of your future robot buddies and discover how you may come to love a hunk of hardware. Also, should ...

Bought by WRGY, KREV-LP, WRIR, and WNJR


  • Added: Mar 10, 2014
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 4
Caption: Do the Math, Credit: Seth Shostak
Fun puzzles for your next urban hike, why brains are wired to count on fingers, and the world’s most famous equations (after e=mc2).

Bought by KKWE Niijii Radio, KSKQ, WRGY, WNJR, WRIR and more


  • Added: Mar 24, 2014
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 7
Caption: Since Sliced Bread, Credit: Seth Shostak
Happy Birthday, World Wide Web! The 25-year-old Web, along with the Internet and the personal computer are among mankind’s greatest inventions. ...

Bought by KREV-LP, WRST-FM Oshkosh, WRGY, WNJR, WRIR and more


  • Added: Apr 07, 2014
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 7
Caption: That's Containment!, Credit: Seth Shostak
We all crave power - to run laptops, charge cell phones, and play Angry Birds. But why don’t batteries last longer? Discover why their technolog...

Bought by KREV-LP, WRST-FM Oshkosh, KFOK-LPFM, WRIR, KSKQ and more


  • Added: Apr 14, 2014
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 7
Caption: Our Tasteless Show, Credit: Seth Shostak
Imagine biting into a rich chocolate donut and not tasting it. That’s what happened to one woman when she lost her sense of smell. Discover what ...

Bought by KFOK-LPFM, KREV-LP, KSKQ, WRIR, and KVSC


  • Added: Apr 28, 2014
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 5
Caption: Smiley Virus, Credit: Gary Niederhoff
For many, the word virus is a synonym for disease – diseases of humans, plants, and even computers. And yet the vast majority of viruses are not o...

Bought by WMUU-LP, 91.7 WHUS Storrs, WMUU-LP, RadioFreePalmer, WRGY and more


  • Added: Oct 19, 2015
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 8
Caption: We Can Rebuild It, Credit: Seth Shostak
It’s human nature: when calamity strikes, we rebuild. Learn about the consequences of the biggest volcanic explosion in 5,000 years, and the reani...

Bought by KFOK-LPFM, KVSC, WRIR, and WRST-FM Oshkosh


  • Added: May 19, 2014
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 4
Caption: Say La Vie, Credit: Seth Shostak
Researchers discover life in a subglacial Antarctic lake. James Cameron takes the first solo dive to the deepest, darkest part of the ocean.

Bought by KSKQ, WRIR, and WRST-FM Oshkosh


  • Added: May 26, 2014
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 3
Caption: A New Hope for Life in Space, Credit: Seth Shostak
A flurry of recent discoveries has shifted the odds of finding alien life: a planet the same size and temperature as Earth, the possibility of tens...

Bought by WRIR and KAZU Seaside, Calif.


  • Added: Jun 02, 2014
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 2
Caption: Skeptic Check: Check the Skeptics, Credit: Seth Shostak
A scientist tells us that more than half of all published scientific studies are wrong, but that science still remains the best tool we have for le...

Bought by WMUU-LP, KRPS, WRGY, 91.7 WHUS Storrs, WRIR and more


  • Added: Oct 26, 2015
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 9
Caption: Time for a Map, Credit: Seth Shostak
It’s hard to get lost these days. GPS pinpoints your location to within a few feet. Discover how our need to get from A to B holds clues about wh...

Bought by WRGY, KFOK-LPFM, and WRIR


  • Added: Jun 30, 2014
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 3