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.


331 Pieces

Order by: Newest First | Oldest First
Caption: Flower Power, Credit: Seth Shostak
Before everything could come up roses, there had to be a primordial flower – the mother, and father, of all flowers. Now scientists are on the hunt...

Bought by WRGY, KBBI Alaska, KMRE-LP Bellingham, Wash., KZUM, KTAL-LP [Las Cruces Community Radio] and more


  • Added: Jun 17, 2024
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 12
Caption: Animals Being Jerks, Credit: Seth Shostak
They’re cute and cuddly. But they can also be obnoxious. Science writer Mary Roach has numerous tales about how our animal friends don’t always bow...

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


  • Added: Jun 10, 2024
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 13
Caption: Post Social Media, Credit: Seth Shostak
Before you check your social media feeds today. And post. And post again. And get into an argument on Twitter, lose track of time and wonder where ...

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


  • Added: Jun 03, 2024
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 13
Caption: Skeptic Check: Feeling Risky, Credit: Seth Shostak
It’s not just facts that inform our decisions. They’re also guided by how those facts feel. From deciding whether to buckle our seat belts to addre...

Bought by Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, KBBI Alaska, KZUM, WRGY, WCAI / WNAN Cape & Islands, Mass. and more


  • Added: May 27, 2024
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 14
Caption: The Play's the Thing, Credit: Seth Shostak
Has children’s play become too safe? Research suggests that efforts to prioritize safety harms children’s mental and physical development during pl...

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


  • Added: May 13, 2024
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 14
Caption: Nuts and Bolts, Credit: Seth Shostak
How frequently do you think about fasteners like screws and bolts? Probably not very often. But some of them a storied history, dating back to Egyp...

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


  • Added: May 06, 2024
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 14
Caption: Phreaky Physics, Credit: Seth Shostak
It was a radical idea a century ago, when Einstein said space and time can be bent, and gravity was really geometry. We hear how his theories inspi...

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


  • Added: Apr 29, 2024
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 14
Caption: De-Permafrosting, Credit: Seth Shostak
Above the Arctic Circle, much of the land is underlaid by permafrost. But climate change is causing it to thaw. This is not good news for the plane...

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


  • Added: Apr 22, 2024
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 14
Caption: For the Birds, Credit: Seth Shostak
Birds have it going on. Many of these winged dinosaurs delight us with their song and brilliant plumage. Migratory birds travel thousands of miles ...

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


  • Added: Apr 15, 2024
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 14
Caption: Fungi Fear, Credit: Seth Shostak
The zombie eco-thriller “The Last of Us” has alerted us to the threats posed by fungi. But the show is not entirely science fiction. Our vulnerabi...

Bought by KMRE-LP Bellingham, Wash., CHSR-FM 97.9, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, KBBI Alaska, WRGY and more


  • Added: Apr 08, 2024
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 14
Caption: Coffee of the Future, Credit: Shannon Rose Geary
Drinking a cup of coffee is how billions of people wake up every morning. But climate change is threatening this popular beverage. Over 60% of the ...

Bought by WCAI / WNAN Cape & Islands, Mass., CHSR-FM 97.9, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, WRGY, KBBI Alaska and more


  • Added: Apr 01, 2024
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 13
Caption: When the Moon Hits Your Eye, Credit: Seth Shostak
The Great North American Solar Eclipse will trace a path of shadow across Mexico and 13 U.S. States on April 8th. Phil Plait, also known as The Bad...

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


  • Added: Mar 25, 2024
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 15
Caption: Asteroid Mining, Credit: Seth Shostak
Asteroids are rich in precious metals and other valuable resources. But mining them presents considerable challenges. We discuss these, and conside...

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


  • Added: Mar 18, 2024
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 15
Piece image
Standing on your own two feet isn’t easy. While many animals can momentarily balance on their hind legs, we’re the only critters, besides birds, fo...

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


  • Added: Mar 11, 2024
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 14
Caption: Lady Parts, Credit: Molly Bentley
The Supreme Court’s ruling on Roe has ignited fierce debate about bodily autonomy. But it’s remarkable how little we know about female physiology. ...

Bought by WCAI / WNAN Cape & Islands, Mass., CHSR-FM 97.9, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, KBBI Alaska, KZUM and more


  • Added: Mar 04, 2024
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 15
Caption: Tomb with a View, Credit: Seth Shostak
A century ago, British archaeologist Howard Carter opened the only surviving intact tomb from ancient Egypt. Inside was the mummy of the boy king T...

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


  • Added: Feb 26, 2024
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 14
Caption: Lithium Valley, Credit: Molly Bentley
The discovery of a massive amount of lithium under the Salton Sea could make the U.S. lithium independent. The metal is key for batteries in electr...

Bought by WCAI / WNAN Cape & Islands, Mass., CHSR-FM 97.9, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, KBBI Alaska, WRGY and more


  • Added: Feb 19, 2024
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 15
Caption: Alien Says What?, Credit: Seth Shostak
Whales are aliens on Earth; intelligent beings who have skills for complex problem-solving and their own language. Now in what’s being called a bre...

Bought by KAZU Seaside, Calif., WCAI / WNAN Cape & Islands, Mass., Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, KBBI Alaska, WRGY and more


  • Added: Feb 12, 2024
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 16
Caption: The Wrong Stuff, Credit: Seth Shostak
By one estimate the average American home has 300,000 objects. Yet our ancient ancestors had no more than what they could carry with them. How did ...

Bought by CHSR-FM 97.9, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, WCAI / WNAN Cape & Islands, Mass., KBBI Alaska, WRGY and more


  • Added: Feb 05, 2024
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 15
Caption: Skeptic Check: Hypnosis, Credit: Shannon Rose Geary
You are getting sleeeepy and open to suggestion. But is that how hypnotism works? And does it really open up a portal to the unconscious mind? Hypn...

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


  • Added: Jan 29, 2024
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 13