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.


218 Pieces

Order by: Newest First | Oldest First
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
Caption: Meet Your Robot Barista, Credit: Seth Shostak
We sip lattes in a robot café and contemplate the future of work. Our mechanical barista is just a start as robots and A.I. train to do a variety o...

Bought by WHCP-LP, CHSR-FM 97.9, WRST-FM Oshkosh, Royalton Community Radio, KBBI and more


  • Added: Jan 28, 2019
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 8
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 Gallatin Valley Community Radio, WUFT, CHSR-FM 97.9, KUHF, WRST-FM Oshkosh and more


  • Added: Dec 24, 2018
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 10
Caption: Shell on Earth, Credit: Seth Shostak
Shells provide straightforward defense against predators. So then why did squid and octopuses evolve to lose their shells? Find out what these cep...

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


  • Added: Mar 12, 2018
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 11
Caption: The X-Flies, Credit: Seth Shostak
Insects populations are declining. But before saying “good riddance,” consider that insects are essential to many ecosystems. Find out what might ...

Bought by Gallatin Valley Community Radio, WHCP-LP, CHSR-FM 97.9, WRST-FM Oshkosh, Royalton Community Radio and more


  • Added: Dec 31, 2018
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 9
Caption: Skeptic Check: Your Inner Lab Coat, Credit: Seth Shostak
Sherlock Holmes doesn’t have a science degree, yet he thinks rationally like a scientist. You can too! Learn the secrets of being irritatingly lo...

Bought by Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, WRST-FM Oshkosh, Royalton Community Radio, KBBI, WRGY and more


  • Added: Mar 26, 2018
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 9
Caption: Hawkingravity, Credit: Seth Shostak
Stephen Hawking felt gravity’s pull. His quest to understand this feeble force spanned his career, and he was the first to realize that black hole...

Bought by WHCP-LP, CHSR-FM 97.9, WRST-FM Oshkosh, Royalton Community Radio, KBBI and more


  • Added: Mar 11, 2019
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 8
Caption: Brain Dust, Credit: Seth Shostak
The brain is a hot research topic, but despite all efforts, your grey matter largely remains a black box – an indecipherable web of neurons with a ...

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


  • Added: Apr 09, 2018
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 12
Caption: What Have You Got To Move, Credit: Seth Shostak
The world is an ocean of motion. Animal locomotion is necessary to survive, and evolution has provided a diverse means to do it: fins, feathers, a...

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


  • Added: Apr 30, 2018
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 14
Caption: Rerouting... Rerouting, Credit: Seth Shostak
With GPS, we can navigate unfamiliar cities. Without GPS, we might not find our way home. Scientists say that our reliance on dashboard devices is...

Bought by WMUU-LP, RadioFreePalmer, KCSB-FM, WUFT, CHSR-FM 97.9 and more


  • Added: Nov 05, 2018
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 14
Caption: Going All to Species, Credit: Seth Shostak
The fossilized bones of Homo naledi are may hold a special place in our ancestry: a link between us and our ape-like ancestors. Some anthropologis...

Bought by CHSR-FM 97.9, WRIR, KCMJ Community Radio, KTAL-LP [Las Cruces Community Radio], KDX Worldround Radio and more


  • Added: Feb 13, 2017
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 25
Caption: Martian Madness
Sure, you “heart” Mars. It’s the starkly beautiful setting for the new film “The Martian,” and NASA has just announced that the Red Planet has sou...

Bought by CHSR-FM 97.9, KTAL-LP [Las Cruces Community Radio], Delta College Public Radio, WRIR, KREV-LP and more


  • Added: Oct 05, 2015
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 20
Caption: Space for Everyone, Credit: Seth Shostak
Want some great views? Consider buying yourself a ticket to ride … into space. Also, asteroids are not just threats – they’re also an opportunity...

Bought by CHSR-FM 97.9, KRPS, 91.7 WHUS Storrs, KSKQ, WMUU-LP and more


  • Added: Oct 12, 2015
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 9
Caption: Skeptic Check: What, We Worry?, Credit: Seth Shostak
We all have worries. But as trained observers, scientists learn things that can affect us all. So what troubles them should also trouble us. Fro...

Bought by CHSR-FM 97.9, WUFT, KKWE Niijii Radio, WYAP, KREV-LP and more


  • Added: Sep 28, 2015
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 13
Caption: No Face to Hide, Credit: Seth Shostak
Face it – your mug is not entirely your own. It’s routinely uploaded to social media pages and captured on CCTV cameras with – and without – your ...

Bought by Indie3 Radio, CHSR-FM 97.9, KTSW 89.9, WMUU-LP, XRAY.fm and more


  • Added: Jan 09, 2017
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 20
Caption: What Lies Beneath, Credit: Seth Shostak
What you can’t see may astound you. Beneath the oceans’ churning surface, oceanographers have recently discovered the largest volcano in the world...

Bought by WMUU-LP, CHSR-FM 97.9, KTAL-LP [Las Cruces Community Radio], 91.7 WHUS Storrs, WMUU-LP and more


  • Added: Nov 28, 2016
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 23
Caption: The Light Stuff, Credit: Seth Shostak
The light bulb needs changing. Edison’s incandescent bulb, virtually unaltered for more than a century, is now being eclipsed by the LED. The cre...

Bought by CHSR-FM 97.9, WUFT, WMUU-LP, 91.7 WHUS Storrs, RadioFreePalmer and more


  • Added: Jan 02, 2017
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 18
Piece image
Are you skeptical? Do you readily accept the claimed benefits of organic milk, or the whitening ingredients in your toothpaste? What about the da...

Bought by Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, CHSR-FM 97.9, KUNM, KMRE-LP, WMUU-LP and more


  • Added: Sep 26, 2016
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 19
Caption: Solar System Vacation, Credit: Seth Shostak
Ever gone bungee jumping on Venus? Of course not. No one has. However your great-great-great grandchildren might find themselves packing for the...

Bought by CHSR-FM 97.9, WRIR, WRST-FM Oshkosh, KMRE-LP, WMUU-LP and more


  • Added: Aug 10, 2015
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 12
Caption: The Fix is In, Credit: Seth Shostak
The moon jellyfish has remarkable approach to self-repair. If it loses a limb, it rearranges its remaining body parts to once again become radiall...

Bought by KTSW 89.9, WMUU-LP, XRAY.fm, RadioFreePalmer, WRIR and more


  • Added: Dec 26, 2016
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 15