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: 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 WHCP-LP Cambridge, KBBI Alaska, KZUM, WMUU-LP, WERA-LP and more


  • Added: Nov 29, 2021
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 11
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 KMUN, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, WHCP-LP Cambridge, KBBI Alaska, WMUU-LP and more


  • Added: Nov 22, 2021
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 13
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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 KMUN, KZUM, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, WRGY, WHCP-LP Cambridge and more


  • Added: Nov 15, 2021
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 13
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 KMUN, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, WHCP-LP Cambridge, WRGY, WMUU-LP and more


  • Added: Nov 08, 2021
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 12
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 KMUN, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, WRGY, WHCP-LP Cambridge, WMUU-LP and more


  • Added: Nov 01, 2021
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 11
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 KMUN, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, WRGY, WHCP-LP Cambridge, WMUU-LP and more


  • Added: Oct 25, 2021
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 10
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 KZUM, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, WRGY, WHCP-LP Cambridge, KMUN and more


  • Added: Oct 18, 2021
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 12
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 KZUM, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, WRGY, KMUN, WHCP-LP Cambridge and more


  • Added: Oct 11, 2021
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 14
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 Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, WRGY, WHCP-LP Cambridge, KMUN, WMUU-LP and more


  • Added: Oct 04, 2021
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 13
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
Caption: De-Permafrosting, Credit: Seth Shostak
Above the Arctic Circle, much of the land is underlaid by permafrost. But climate change is causing it to thaw. This is not good news for the plane...

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


  • Added: Sep 06, 2021
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 14
Caption: True Grit, Credit: Seth Shostak
Without sand, engineering would be stuck in the Middle Ages and Silicon Valley would be, well, just a valley. Sand is the building material of mod...

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


  • Added: Aug 30, 2021
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 11
Caption: You've Got Whale, Credit: Seth Shostak
We’re all missing out on important messages, and no amount of refreshing your browser will help. That’s because eavesdropping on the communications...

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


  • Added: Aug 23, 2021
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 13
Caption: Phreaky Physics, Credit: Seth Shostak
It was a radical idea a century ago, when Einstein said space and time can be bent, and gravity was really geometry. We hear how his theories inspi...

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


  • Added: Aug 16, 2021
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 13
Caption: Skeptic Check: Anti-Vax, Credit: Seth Shostak
They were developed in a matter of months, and they’re 90 percent effective at stopping infection. They protect against serious illness or death. A...

Bought by KZUM, CHSR-FM 97.9, KBCS 91.3 FM Community Radio, WFAE, KSFR and more


  • Added: Aug 09, 2021
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 22
Caption: Platypus Crazy, Credit: Seth Shostak
They look like a cross between a beaver and a duck, and they all live Down Under. The platypus may lay eggs, but is actually a distant mammalian co...

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


  • Added: Aug 02, 2021
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 12
Caption: A Twist of Slime, Credit: Seth Shostak
Your daily mucus output is most impressive. Teaspoons or measuring cups can’t capture its entire volume. Find out how much your body churns out and...

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


  • Added: Jul 26, 2021
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 11
Caption: New Water Worlds, Credit: Seth Shostak
The water is coming. By century’s end, the oceans could be anywhere from 2 to 6 feet higher, threatening millions of people and low-lying property....

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


  • Added: Jul 19, 2021
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 13