Big Picture Science

Series produced by Big Picture Science

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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.


274 Pieces

Order by: Newest First | Oldest First
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
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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 WUFT, CHSR-FM 97.9, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, WRGY, WMUU-LP and more


  • Added: Dec 21, 2020
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 13
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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
Caption: Time Travel Agents, Credit: Seth Shostak
Hey, let’s meet last week for coffee. Okay, we can’t meet in the past… yet. But is it only a matter of time before we time travel? Physicists have ...

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


  • Added: Nov 09, 2020
  • Length: 54:03
  • Purchases: 14
Caption: The Other Living World, Credit: Seth Shostak
Reason for hope is just one thing that ecologist Carl Safina can offer. He understands why many of us turn to nature to find solace during this str...

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


  • Added: Nov 02, 2020
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 15
Caption: Skeptic Check: Stay Skeptical, Credit: Seth Shostak
Whether you call it hooey, codswallop, or malarky, misinformation is not what it used to be. It’s harder to spot now. New-school BS is often cloake...

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


  • Added: Oct 26, 2020
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 14
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 KMUN, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, WMUU-LP, KBBI Alaska, WHCP-LP Cambridge and more


  • Added: Oct 19, 2020
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 14
Caption: Geology is Destiny, Credit: Seth Shostak
Geology is big history. If the Ice Age had been a bit warmer, the U.S. might have only 13 states. But humanity has introduced its own geologic er...

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


  • Added: Oct 12, 2020
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 15
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 WUFT, CHSR-FM 97.9, KMUN, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, WRGY and more


  • Added: Oct 05, 2020
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 15
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 CHSR-FM 97.9, KMUN, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, WRGY, WHCP-LP Cambridge and more


  • Added: Sep 28, 2020
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 11
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 CHSR-FM 97.9, KMUN, WRGY, WMUU-LP, WHCP-LP Cambridge and more


  • Added: Sep 21, 2020
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 8
Caption: Life on Venus?, Credit: Seth Shostak
Have scientists found evidence of life on Venus? Known for its scorching temperatures and acidic atmosphere, Earth’s twin hardly seems a promising ...

Bought by CHSR-FM 97.9, WRGY, KBBI Alaska, WMUU-LP, WHCP-LP Cambridge and more


  • Added: Sep 14, 2020
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 6
Caption: Space: Why Go There, Credit: Seth Shostak
It takes a lot of energy and technology to rocket into space. Find out why it’s worth it, from the practical importance of satellites to the thril...

Bought by KAWC / Border Radio - KOFA, CHSR-FM 97.9, WRST-FM Oshkosh, KUAC, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting and more


  • Added: Sep 07, 2020
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 14
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Insects populations are declining. But before saying “good riddance,” consider that insects are essential to many ecosystems. Find out what might ...

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


  • Added: Aug 24, 2020
  • Length: 54:30
  • Purchases: 13
Caption: Skeptic Check: Worrier Mentality, Credit: Seth Shostak
Poisonous snakes, lightning strikes, a rogue rock from space. There are plenty of scary things to fret about, but are we burning adrenaline on the...

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


  • Added: Aug 17, 2020
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 12