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
Piece image
Are you skeptical? Do you readily accept the claimed benefits of organic milk, or the whitening ingredients in your toothpaste? What about the da...

Bought by Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, CHSR-FM 97.9, KUNM, KMRE-LP Bellingham, Wash., WMUU-LP and more


  • Added: Sep 26, 2016
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 19
Caption: The Light Stuff, Credit: Seth Shostak
The light bulb needs changing. Edison’s incandescent bulb, virtually unaltered for more than a century, is now being eclipsed by the LED. The cre...

Bought by WMUU-LP, CHSR-FM 97.9, WUFT, WMUU-LP, 91.7 WHUS Storrs and more


  • Added: Jan 02, 2017
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 19
Caption: What Lies Beneath, Credit: Seth Shostak
What you can’t see may astound you. Beneath the oceans’ churning surface, oceanographers have recently discovered the largest volcano in the world...

Bought by WMUU-LP, WMUU-LP, CHSR-FM 97.9, KTAL-LP [Las Cruces Community Radio], 91.7 WHUS Storrs and more


  • Added: Nov 28, 2016
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 24
Caption: No Face to Hide, Credit: Seth Shostak
Face it – your mug is not entirely your own. It’s routinely uploaded to social media pages and captured on CCTV cameras with – and without – your ...

Bought by WMUU-LP, Indie3 Radio, CHSR-FM 97.9, KTSW 89.9, WMUU-LP and more


  • Added: Jan 09, 2017
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 21
Caption: Skeptic Check: What, We Worry?, Credit: Seth Shostak
We all have worries. But as trained observers, scientists learn things that can affect us all. So what troubles them should also trouble us. Fro...

Bought by CHSR-FM 97.9, WUFT, KKWE Niijii Radio, WYAP, KREV-LP and more


  • Added: Sep 28, 2015
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 13
Caption: Space for Everyone, Credit: Seth Shostak
Want some great views? Consider buying yourself a ticket to ride … into space. Also, asteroids are not just threats – they’re also an opportunity...

Bought by CHSR-FM 97.9, KRPS, 91.7 WHUS Storrs, KSKQ, WMUU-LP and more


  • Added: Oct 12, 2015
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 9
Caption: Martian Madness
Sure, you “heart” Mars. It’s the starkly beautiful setting for the new film “The Martian,” and NASA has just announced that the Red Planet has sou...

Bought by CHSR-FM 97.9, KTAL-LP [Las Cruces Community Radio], Delta College Public Radio, WRIR, KREV-LP and more


  • Added: Oct 05, 2015
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 20
Caption: Going All to Species, Credit: Seth Shostak
The fossilized bones of Homo naledi are may hold a special place in our ancestry: a link between us and our ape-like ancestors. Some anthropologis...

Bought by WMUU-LP, CHSR-FM 97.9, WRIR, KCMJ Community Radio, KTAL-LP [Las Cruces Community Radio] and more


  • Added: Feb 13, 2017
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 26
Caption: Rerouting... Rerouting, Credit: Seth Shostak
With GPS, we can navigate unfamiliar cities. Without GPS, we might not find our way home. Scientists say that our reliance on dashboard devices is...

Bought by WMUU-LP, WMUU-LP, RadioFreePalmer, KCSB-FM, WUFT and more


  • Added: Nov 05, 2018
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 15
Caption: What Have You Got To Move, Credit: Seth Shostak
The world is an ocean of motion. Animal locomotion is necessary to survive, and evolution has provided a diverse means to do it: fins, feathers, a...

Bought by WMUU-LP, Royalton Community Radio, KCSB-FM, KBBI Alaska, WMUU-LP and more


  • Added: Apr 30, 2018
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 14
Caption: Brain Dust, Credit: Seth Shostak
The brain is a hot research topic, but despite all efforts, your grey matter largely remains a black box – an indecipherable web of neurons with a ...

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


  • Added: Apr 09, 2018
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 13
Caption: Hawkingravity, Credit: Seth Shostak
Stephen Hawking felt gravity’s pull. His quest to understand this feeble force spanned his career, and he was the first to realize that black hole...

Bought by WMUU-LP, WHCP-LP Cambridge, CHSR-FM 97.9, WRST-FM Oshkosh, Royalton Community Radio and more


  • Added: Mar 11, 2019
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 9
Caption: Skeptic Check: Your Inner Lab Coat, Credit: Seth Shostak
Sherlock Holmes doesn’t have a science degree, yet he thinks rationally like a scientist. You can too! Learn the secrets of being irritatingly lo...

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


  • Added: Mar 26, 2018
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 10
Caption: Meet Your Robot Barista, Credit: Seth Shostak
We sip lattes in a robot café and contemplate the future of work. Our mechanical barista is just a start as robots and A.I. train to do a variety o...

Bought by WMUU-LP, WHCP-LP Cambridge, CHSR-FM 97.9, WRST-FM Oshkosh, Royalton Community Radio and more


  • Added: Jan 28, 2019
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 9
Caption: Quantum: Why We Want 'Em, Credit: Seth Shostak
Today, everything from cell phones to LED lighting depends on the weird behavior described by quantum mechanics. But will this strange physics soo...

Bought by WMUU-LP, CHSR-FM 97.9, Royalton Community Radio, KBBI Alaska, WMUU-LP and more


  • Added: Feb 19, 2018
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 13
Caption: Bacteria to the Future, Credit: Seth Shostak
Why did the chicken take antibiotics? To fatten it up and prevent bacterial infection. But farms have become superbug factories, threatening our l...

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


  • Added: Nov 26, 2018
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 8
Caption: New UFO Evidence, Credit: Seth Shostak
It was a shocker of a story, splashed across the New York Times front page: The existence of a five-year long, hidden Pentagon study of UFOs. We c...

Bought by WMUU-LP, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, CHSR-FM 97.9, WRST-FM Oshkosh, Bandon Community Radio and more


  • Added: Jan 29, 2018
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 10
Caption: DIY Spaceflight, Credit: Seth Shostak
How the geeky son of immigrant parents incentivized construction of the first private spaceship and kick started the commercial launch industry. A...

Bought by WMUU-LP, CHSR-FM 97.9, Royalton Community Radio, KBBI Alaska, KUER and more


  • Added: Jan 22, 2018
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 12
Caption: Are Animals Really That Smart?, Credit: Seth Shostak
Find out how housecats manage to wrap their owners around their paws, and primatologist Frans de Waal on the surprising smarts of chimps, elephants...

Bought by WMUU-LP, CHSR-FM 97.9, WUFT, KAZU Seaside, Calif., KTSW 89.9 and more


  • Added: Jan 08, 2018
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 19
Caption: Weather Vain, Credit: Seth Shostak
History is replete with attempts to control the weather, but we’d settle for an accurate, seven-day forecast. Find out how sophisticated technolog...

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


  • Added: Jan 01, 2018
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 21