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.


295 Pieces

Order by: Newest First | Oldest First
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 WVTF, CHSR-FM 97.9, KMUN, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, KBBI Alaska and more


  • Added: Oct 26, 2020
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 15
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 WMUU-LP, KMUN, CHSR-FM 97.9, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, WRGY and more


  • Added: Oct 12, 2020
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 16
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 WMUU-LP, CHSR-FM 97.9, KUAC, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, WRGY and more


  • Added: Aug 24, 2020
  • Length: 54:30
  • Purchases: 14
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
Caption: Math's Paths, Credit: Seth Shostak
If you bake, you can appreciate math’s transformative properties. Admiring the stackable potato chip is to admire a hyperbolic sheet. Find out wh...

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


  • Added: Aug 10, 2020
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 14
Caption: On Thin Ice
Ice is more than a repository for water that would otherwise raise sea levels. It’s part of Earth’s cooling system, a barrier preventing decaying o...

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


  • Added: Aug 03, 2020
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 12
Caption: Skeptic Check: Know-It-Alls
Think you’re some kind of expert? Join the club. It’s one thing to question authority; another to offer up your untrained self as its replacement. ...

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


  • Added: Jul 27, 2020
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 13
Caption: Something in the Air, Credit: Seth Shostak
Our response to the virus is changing the air in unexpected ways. A pandemic-driven pause on travel has produced clear skies and a world-wide air q...

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


  • Added: Jul 20, 2020
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 13
Caption: COVID Curiosities, Credit: Danielle Futselaar
Some dogs and cats have become sick with COVID. But it’s not just domestic critters that are vulnerable: zoo animals have fallen ill too. There’s m...

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


  • Added: Jul 13, 2020
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 16
Caption: Creative Brains, Credit: Seth Shostak
Many animals are industrious and clever, but humans are unique in their creative and inventive impulses. Composer Anthony Brandt and neuroscientist...

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


  • Added: Jul 06, 2020
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 13
Caption: Animals Like Us, Credit: Seth Shostak
Laughing rats, sorrowful elephants, joyful chimpanzees. The more carefully we observe, and the more we learn about animals, the closer their emoti...

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


  • Added: Jun 29, 2020
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 13
Caption: Let's Stick Together, Credit: Seth Shostak
Crowds driving you crazy? Remember, we evolved to be together. Humans are not only social, we’re driven to care for one another. We look at some...

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


  • Added: Jun 22, 2020
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 12
Caption: Skeptic Check: Data Bias, Credit: Seth Shostak
Sexist snow plowing? Data that guide everything from snow removal schedules to heart research often fail to consider gender. Human bias also infect...

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


  • Added: Jun 15, 2020
  • Length: 54:01
  • Purchases: 15
Caption: Race and Covid
While citizens take to the streets to protest racist violence, the pandemic has its own brutal inequities. Black, Latino, and Native American peopl...

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


  • Added: Jun 08, 2020
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 15
Caption: Soap, Skin, Sleep, Credit: Seth Shostak
Some safeguards against COVID-19 don’t require a medical breakthrough. Catching sufficient Z’s makes for a healthy immune system. And, while you wa...

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


  • Added: Jun 01, 2020
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 15
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Hey, Alexa, why don’t you laugh at my jokes? Teaching a computer to recognize humor is difficult because no clear definition of humor exists. Send...

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


  • Added: May 25, 2020
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 17
Caption: Vaccine, When?, Credit: Seth Shostak
It will be the shot heard ‘round the world, once it comes. But exactly when can we expect a COVID vaccine? We discuss timelines, how it would wor...

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


  • Added: May 18, 2020
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 14
Caption: To the Bat Cave
To fight a pandemic, you first need to understand where a virus comes from. That quest takes disease ecologist Jon Epstein to gloomy caverns where ...

Bought by CHSR-FM 97.9, KTRT RADIO INC, KMUN, WUFT, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting and more


  • Added: May 11, 2020
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 16