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.


217 Pieces

Order by: Newest First | Oldest First
Caption: Skeptic Check: Heal Thyself, Credit: Seth Shostak
Do we need doctors? There are umpteen alternative sources of medical advice, including endless health tips from people without medical degrees. Wh...

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


  • Added: Sep 24, 2018
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 9
Caption: DNA: Nature's Hard Drive, Credit: Seth Shostak
A new place to store your animated GIF: in a living organism’s DNA. Researchers have done that as proof of concept that the molecule is a great rep...

Bought by WMUU-LP, CHSR-FM 97.9, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, KVNF, KCSB-FM and more


  • Added: Sep 17, 2018
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 13
Caption: Angles of a Hack, Credit: Seth Shostak
The idea of “hacking” has changed a lot from the days when it meant nosing around the phone system. Today computer hacking poses a strategic threa...

Bought by CHSR-FM 97.9, KIDE Hoopa Tribal Radio 91.3fm, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, Royalton Community Radio, KBBI and more


  • Added: Sep 10, 2018
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 13
Caption: Plan of a Hack, Credit: Seth Shostak
Before cyber criminals were stealing ATM passwords, phone phreaks were tapping into the telephone system. Today “hacking” can apply to cyberwarfare...

Bought by WMUU-LP, CHSR-FM 97.9, KIDE Hoopa Tribal Radio 91.3fm, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, Royalton Community Radio and more


  • Added: Sep 03, 2018
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 13
Caption: Too Big To Prove, Credit: Seth Shostak
Celebrations are in order for the physicists who won the 2017 Nobel Prize for the detection of gravitational waves. Unfolding over a century, the ...

Bought by CHSR-FM 97.9, KTSW 89.9, KMXT, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, KCSB-FM and more


  • Added: Aug 20, 2018
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 13
Caption: On Thin Ice, Credit: Seth Shostak
Ice is more than a repository for water that would otherwise raise the level of our oceans. It’s part of Earth’s cooling system … a barrier preven...

Bought by WMUU-LP, CHSR-FM 97.9, Gallatin Valley Community Radio, WMRA, KCPW and more


  • Added: Jul 21, 2018
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 18
Caption: What Goes Around, Credit: Seth Shostak
It’s not just tin cans and newspapers. One man says that everything can be recycled – cigarette butts, yoga mats, dirty diapers. Even radioactive...

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


  • Added: Jul 09, 2018
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 14
Caption: Frogs' Pants, Credit: Seth Shostak
An 18th century scientist fitted a pair of tailor-made briefs on a male frog to determine the animal’s contribution to reproduction. Find out what...

Bought by CHSR-FM 97.9, WMRA, KBBI, KCSB-FM, KMXT and more


  • Added: Jul 02, 2018
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 12
Caption: Perpetual Emotion Machine, Credit: Seth Shostak
Get ready for compassionate computers that share your pain, your joy. But wait, our own emotions can be conflicting and irrational. A suite of unc...

Bought by CHSR-FM 97.9, WMRA, KTSW 89.9, Royalton Community Radio, WRGY and more


  • Added: Jun 18, 2018
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 15
Caption: Imagining Planets, Credit: Seth Shostak
Get to know your planetary neighbors. Dive into a mountain lake and trek though the driest desert on Earth with a scientist who’s had not one but ...

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


  • Added: Jun 04, 2018
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 9
Caption: We Are VR, Credit: Seth Shostak
Will virtual reality make you a better person? Seth puts on a VR headset for an immersive experience of a man who’s evicted from his apartment. F...

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


  • Added: Feb 25, 2019
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 8
Caption: DIY Diagnosis, Credit: Seth Shostak
You can use your DNA to explore your genetic health – but are you ready for what you might find when your genome is sequenced? Plus, practitioners...

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


  • Added: Dec 25, 2017
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 16
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, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, CHSR-FM 97.9, Royalton Community Radio, KUNM and more


  • Added: Jan 01, 2018
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 20
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, KTSW 89.9 and more


  • Added: Jan 08, 2018
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 19
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 WUFT, CHSR-FM 97.9, Royalton Community Radio, KBBI, WRST-FM Oshkosh and more


  • Added: Jan 15, 2018
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 11
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, KUER and more


  • Added: Jan 22, 2018
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 12
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: 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 KFOI Radio, CHSR-FM 97.9, KTSW 89.9, WRST-FM Oshkosh, Royalton Community Radio and more


  • Added: Dec 03, 2018
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 9
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: 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, WMUU-LP and more


  • Added: Feb 19, 2018
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 13