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.


209 Pieces

Order by: Newest First | Oldest First
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, KBBI, KCSB-FM, WHCP-LP, WRGY and more


  • Added: Jul 15, 2019
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 8
Caption: DNA is Not Destiny, Credit: Seth Shostak
We used to think that the genes you inherited didn’t change. You were stuck – or blessed – with what you got. Now we know that’s not true. Epi...

Bought by Gallatin Valley Community Radio, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, WRGY, KCSB-FM, WMUU-LP and more


  • Added: Jul 08, 2019
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 11
Caption: Nailing the Moon Landing
Neil, Buzz, and Michael made it look effortless, but the moon landing was neither easy nor inevitable. So on July 20, 1969, despite enormous diffi...

Bought by CHSR-FM 97.9, KCPW, WCQS, WUFT, KWIT and more


  • Added: Jul 01, 2019
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 18
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 WMRA, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, Royalton Community Radio, Gallatin Valley Community Radio, KCSB-FM and more


  • Added: Jun 24, 2019
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 10
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 WMRA, RadioFreePalmer, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, Royalton Community Radio, Gallatin Valley Community Radio and more


  • Added: Jun 17, 2019
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 11
Caption: It's Habitable Forming, Credit: Seth Shostak
Evidence suggests a subsurface lake on Mars, prompting scientists to use the “h” word. Could the Red Planet be habitable? While we wait – impati...

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


  • Added: Jun 10, 2019
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 12
Caption: Creature Discomforts, Credit: Seth Shostak
We love them, fear them, use them – and sometimes eat them, too. But how well do we really know animals? Our impressions are often simplistic. T...

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


  • Added: Jun 03, 2019
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 12
Caption: 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, WMRA, KAZU, RadioFreePalmer, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting and more


  • Added: May 27, 2019
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 14
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 propert...

Bought by CHSR-FM 97.9, WMRA, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, Royalton Community Radio, Gallatin Valley Community Radio and more


  • Added: May 20, 2019
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 13
Caption: Is Life Inevitable?, Credit: Seth Shostak
A new theory about life’s origins updates Darwin’s warm little pond. Scientists say they’ve created the building blocks of biology in steaming hot...

Bought by CHSR-FM 97.9, WMRA, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, Royalton Community Radio, Gallatin Valley Community Radio and more


  • Added: May 13, 2019
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 12
Caption: Rethinking Chernobyl, Credit: Seth Shostak
The catastrophic explosion at Chernobyl triggered a full-scale destruction of the reactor in the worst nuclear reactor accident in history. But res...

Bought by CHSR-FM 97.9, New Hampshire Public Radio, WMRA, Interlochen Public Radio, Boise State Public Radio and more


  • Added: May 06, 2019
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 21
Caption: Identity Crisis, Credit: Seth Shostak
DNA is the gold standard of all identification methods. Except when it’s not. So, while we refine our ability to work with the double helix, scie...

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


  • Added: Apr 29, 2019
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 10
Caption: Gained in Translation, Credit: Seth Shostak
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 CHSR-FM 97.9, WMRA, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, Royalton Community Radio, WHCP-LP and more


  • Added: Apr 22, 2019
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 11
Caption: Free Range Dinosaurs, Credit: Seth Shostak
Dinosaurs are once again stomping their way across the silver screen. But these colossal beasts stole the show long before CGI brought them roarin...

Bought by CHSR-FM 97.9, WMRA, Gallatin Valley Community Radio, WRST-FM Oshkosh, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting and more


  • Added: Apr 15, 2019
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 12
Caption: Go With the Flow, Credit: Seth Shostak
Solid materials get all the credit. Don’t get us wrong, we depend on their firmness for bridges, bones, and bento boxes. But liquids do us a solid...

Bought by CHSR-FM 97.9, WMRA, WRST-FM Oshkosh, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, KICI and more


  • Added: Apr 08, 2019
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 11
Caption: DecodeHer, Credit: Seth Shostak
They were pioneers in their fields, yet their names are scarcely known – simply because they didn’t have a Y chromosome. We examine the accomplish...

Bought by CHSR-FM 97.9, WRST-FM Oshkosh, Royalton Community Radio, KICI, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting and more


  • Added: Apr 01, 2019
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 9
Caption: You Are Exposed, Credit: Seth Shostak
There is no place like “ome.” Your microbiome is highly influential in determining your health and the course of disease. But it’s not the only “...

Bought by Gallatin Valley Community Radio, WRST-FM Oshkosh, Royalton Community Radio, KICI, WHCP-LP and more


  • Added: Mar 25, 2019
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 10
Caption: Skeptic Check: Political Scientist, Credit: Seth Shostak
Many scientists Marched for Science; now some are diving deeper into political engagement: challenging public policy and even running for office th...

Bought by RadioFreePalmer, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, WHCP-LP, KBBI, WMUU-LP and more


  • Added: Mar 18, 2019
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 8
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 WRST-FM Oshkosh, CHSR-FM 97.9, KICI, RadioFreePalmer, Royalton Community Radio and more


  • Added: Feb 18, 2019
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 11
Caption: Keeping Humans in the Loop, Credit: Seth Shostak
As our world becomes more challenging, can we maintain control of our own future? Threats arise not just from climate change or inventions such as...

Bought by KAZU, WRST-FM Oshkosh, CHSR-FM 97.9, KICI, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting and more


  • Added: Feb 11, 2019
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 12