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.


237 Pieces

Order by: Newest First | Oldest First
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 KMRE-LP, RadioFreePalmer, WYAP, and KMXT


  • Added: Jun 01, 2020
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 4
Piece image
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 KMUN, KAZU, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, Royalton Community Radio, WPCA-LP and more


  • Added: May 25, 2020
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 14
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 KMUN, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, Royalton Community Radio, KBBI, WMUU-LP and more


  • Added: May 18, 2020
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 13
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 KTRT RADIO INC, KMUN, WUFT, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, Royalton Community Radio and more


  • Added: May 11, 2020
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 15
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 KMUN, RadioFreePalmer, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, Royalton Community Radio, KICI and more


  • Added: May 04, 2020
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 12
Caption: Covid Conspiracy
Nature abhors a vacuum, but conspiracy theorists love one. While we wait for scientists to nail down the how and why of the coronavirus, opportuni...

Bought by KMUN, RadioFreePalmer, KICI, Royalton Community Radio, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting and more


  • Added: Apr 30, 2020
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 10
Caption: Treating the Virus, Credit: Seth Shostak
It’s not like waiting for Godot, because he never arrived. A coronavirus vaccine will come. But it is still months away. Meanwhile, scientists a...

Bought by KOJB 90.1 FM The eagle, Royalton Community Radio, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, KUNM, WRGY and more


  • Added: Apr 20, 2020
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 16
Caption: The Other Living World
Reason for hope is just one thing that ecologist Carl Safina can offer. He understands why many of us turn to nature to find solace during this str...

Bought by KOJB 90.1 FM The eagle, CHSR-FM 97.9, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, Royalton Community Radio, WPCA-LP and more


  • Added: Apr 13, 2020
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 15
Caption: Zombies, Bigfoot, and Max Brooks
What do a zombie attack and a viral pandemic have in common? They are both frightening, mindless, and relentless in their assault. And both requi...

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


  • Added: Apr 06, 2020
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 14
Caption: Let's Take a Paws, Credit: Seth Shostak
Humans aren’t the only animals stressed-out by social distancing. Narwhals send out echolocation clicks to locate their buddies and ease their lon...

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


  • Added: Mar 30, 2020
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 13
Piece image
“Climate change at warp speed” is the way one scientist described the coronavirus outbreak. Recorded before a live audience at the Seattle AAAS mee...

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


  • Added: Mar 23, 2020
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 14
Caption: It's In Material, Credit: It's In Material
Astronauts are made of the “right stuff,” but what about their spacesuits? Find out why suiting up on Mars will require more flexibility, and the...

Bought by CHSR-FM 97.9, WCAI / WNAN, Royalton Community Radio, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, KMRE-LP and more


  • Added: Mar 16, 2020
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 15
Caption: Skeptic Check: Pandemic Fear, Credit: Seth Shostak
Contagion aside, coronavirus is a powerful little virus. It has prompted a global experiment in behavior modification: elbow bumps instead of hand...

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


  • Added: Mar 09, 2020
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 21
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 WJFF, Royalton Community Radio, KBBI, WHCP-LP, WRGY and more


  • Added: Mar 02, 2020
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 8
Caption: AI: Where Does it End?, Credit: Seth Shostak
The benefits of Artificial Intelligence are manifest and manifold, but can we recognize the drawbacks … and avoid them in time? In this episode, ...

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


  • Added: Feb 24, 2020
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 15
Caption: Climate Changed, Credit: Seth Shostak
Rising waters, more destructive wildfires, record-breaking heatwaves. Scientists have long predicted these events, but reporting on climate change ...

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


  • Added: Feb 17, 2020
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 13
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, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, Royalton Community Radio, WPCA-LP, WMUU-LP and more


  • Added: Feb 10, 2020
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 12
Caption: Skeptic Check: Science Denial, Credit: Seth Shostak
Climate change isn’t happening. Vaccines make you sick. When it comes to threats to public or environmental health, a surprisingly large fraction...

Bought by Royalton Community Radio, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, WRGY, WPCA-LP, KICI and more


  • Added: Feb 03, 2020
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 12
Caption: A Twist of Slime, Credit: Seth Shostak
Your daily mucus output is most impressive. Teaspoons or measuring cups can’t capture its entire volume. Find out how much your body churns out ...

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


  • Added: Jan 27, 2020
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 12
Caption: The Ears Have It, Credit: Seth Shostak
What’s the difference between a bird call and the sound of a pile driver? Not much, when you’re close to the loudest bird ever. Also, how everyda...

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


  • Added: Jan 20, 2020
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 12