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.


273 Pieces

Order by: Newest First | Oldest First
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 Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, WUFT, WHCP-LP Cambridge, WMUU-LP, WCAI / WNAN Cape & Islands, Mass. and more


  • Added: Sep 13, 2021
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 11
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 Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, WRGY, WHCP-LP Cambridge, KCNP, WMUU-LP and more


  • Added: Sep 06, 2021
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 13
Caption: True Grit, Credit: Seth Shostak
Without sand, engineering would be stuck in the Middle Ages and Silicon Valley would be, well, just a valley. Sand is the building material of mod...

Bought by Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, WRGY, WHCP-LP Cambridge, WMUU-LP, WERA-LP and more


  • Added: Aug 30, 2021
  • 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 WUFT, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, WRGY, WHCP-LP Cambridge, WMUU-LP and more


  • Added: Aug 23, 2021
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 12
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 Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, WRGY, WHCP-LP Cambridge, WMUU-LP, WERA-LP and more


  • Added: Aug 16, 2021
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 11
Caption: Skeptic Check: Anti-Vax, Credit: Seth Shostak
They were developed in a matter of months, and they’re 90 percent effective at stopping infection. They protect against serious illness or death. A...

Bought by KBCS 91.3 FM Community Radio, WFAE, KSFR, WKMS, Boise State Public Radio and more


  • Added: Aug 09, 2021
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 20
Caption: Platypus Crazy, Credit: Seth Shostak
They look like a cross between a beaver and a duck, and they all live Down Under. The platypus may lay eggs, but is actually a distant mammalian co...

Bought by WCAI / WNAN Cape & Islands, Mass., Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, WRGY, WMUU-LP, WHCP-LP Cambridge and more


  • Added: Aug 02, 2021
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 11
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 and...

Bought by Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, WHCP-LP Cambridge, WMUU-LP, WRGY, WERA-LP and more


  • Added: Jul 26, 2021
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 10
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 property....

Bought by KAZU Seaside, Calif., Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, WHCP-LP Cambridge, WMUU-LP, WRGY and more


  • Added: Jul 19, 2021
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 12
Caption: Cicadas and Zombie Seeds, Credit: Seth Shostak
Rip van Winkle snoozed for 20 years, and Sleeping Beauty for 100. But seeds in an underground bottle have easily beaten both these records, germina...

Bought by Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, WRGY, WHCP-LP Cambridge, WMUU-LP, KIYU-FM and more


  • Added: Jul 12, 2021
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 11
Caption: Pentagon UFO Report, Credit: Seth Shostak
When the government announced it would release a report about strange aerial phenomena, public excitement and media coverage took off like a Saturn...

Bought by Interlochen Public Radio, WRGY, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, WHCP-LP Cambridge, WMUU-LP and more


  • Added: Jul 05, 2021
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 13
Caption: Science Breaking Bad, Credit: Seth Shostak
The scientific method is tried and true. The fallible humans behind the research, however, not so much. Find out why the hyper-competitive pursuit...

Bought by CHSR-FM 97.9, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, WRGY, WHCP-LP Cambridge, WERA-LP and more


  • Added: Jun 28, 2021
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 13
Caption: After the Plague, Credit: Seth Shostak
Everyone is familiar with the immediate consequences of a pandemic – sickness and death. But the long-term ramifications can be just as dramatic: a...

Bought by CHSR-FM 97.9, WKMS, Interlochen Public Radio, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, WMUU-LP and more


  • Added: Jun 21, 2021
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 14
Caption: Flush with Excitement, Credit: Seth Shostak
The toilet: A ubiquitous appliance that dates to the time of Shakespeare. But billions of people around the world still lack modern sanitation infr...

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


  • Added: Jun 14, 2021
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 11
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 KUNM, CHSR-FM 97.9, WRGY, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, WHCP-LP Cambridge and more


  • Added: Jun 07, 2021
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 14
Caption: Air Apparent, Credit: Seth Shostak
It’s easy to take air for granted, but – unlike food and water – you can’t live more than a few minutes without it. This invisible chemical cocktai...

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


  • Added: May 31, 2021
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 11
Caption: Feet Don't Fail Me, Credit: Seth Shostak
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, WHCP-LP Cambridge, KBBI Alaska, WRGY and more


  • Added: May 24, 2021
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 11
Caption: Skeptic Check: Rational Lampoon, Credit: Seth Shostak
Why a cognitive scientist says that the very idea of individual thinking is a myth: most of our thinking is done in groups. Also, you know much les...

Bought by CHSR-FM 97.9, KICI Iowa City, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, WRGY, WHCP-LP Cambridge and more


  • Added: May 17, 2021
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 13
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, WRGY, WHCP-LP Cambridge, WUFT and more


  • Added: May 10, 2021
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 16
Caption: End of Eternity, Credit: Seth Shostak
Nothing lasts forever. Even the universe has several possible endings. Will there be a dramatic Big Rip or a Big Chill¬ – also known as the heat de...

Bought by CHSR-FM 97.9, WLPR , WRGY, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, WHCP-LP Cambridge and more


  • Added: May 03, 2021
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 15