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.


218 Pieces

Order by: Newest First | Oldest First
Caption: Stopping Ebola, Credit: Seth Shostak
A new vaccine may help turn Ebola into a disease we can prevent, and a new drug may make it one we can cure. But the political crisis in the Democ...

Bought by RadioFreePalmer and KMXT


  • Added: Nov 18, 2019
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 2
Caption: Radical Cosmology, Credit: Seth Shostak
400 years ago, some ideas about the cosmos were too scandalous to mention. When the Dominican friar Giordano Bruno suggested the existence of plan...

Bought by Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, Royalton Community Radio, WHCP-LP, CI Dolphin Radio, KBBI and more


  • Added: Nov 11, 2019
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 11
Caption: Supercomputer Showdown, Credit: Seth Shostak
Do you have a hard-to-answer question? The Summit, Sierra, Trinity, Frontier, and Aurora supercomputers are built to tackle it. Summit tops the p...

Bought by WRST-FM Oshkosh, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, Royalton Community Radio, WMUU-LP, WHCP-LP and more


  • Added: Nov 04, 2019
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 11
Caption: 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 WRST-FM Oshkosh, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, Royalton Community Radio, KBBI, WMUU-LP and more


  • Added: Oct 28, 2019
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 11
Caption: Go With the Flow, Credit: Seth Shostak
Solid materials get all the credit. Don’t get us wrong, we depend on their firmness for bridges, bones, and bento boxes. But liquids do us a solid...

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


  • Added: Oct 14, 2019
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 10
Caption: Battling Bacteria, Credit: Seth Shostak
More than 75 years ago, a bacteriologist cautioned that the misuse of antibiotics could breed drug-resistant bacteria. In this episode: the rise o...

Bought by WRST-FM Oshkosh, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, WRGY, WMUU-LP, WHCP-LP and more


  • Added: Oct 07, 2019
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 9
Caption: Headed For Trouble, Credit: Seth Shostak
The stone heads on Easter Island are an enduring mystery: why were they built and why were they abandoned and destroyed? Old ideas are yielding to ...

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


  • Added: Sep 30, 2019
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 12
Caption: Keeping Humans in the Loop, Credit: Seth Shostak
As our world becomes more challenging, can we maintain control of our own future? Threats arise not just from climate change or inventions such as...

Bought by Royalton Community Radio, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, WHCP-LP, WRGY, KBBI and more


  • Added: Sep 23, 2019
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 10
Caption: Rip Van Winkle Worm, Credit: Seth Shostak
Your shower pipes are alive. So are your sinks, books, and floorboards. New studies of our homes are revealing just what lives there, from bacter...

Bought by Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, Royalton Community Radio, WRGY, WHCP-LP, KBBI and more


  • Added: Sep 16, 2019
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 11
Caption: For Good Measure, Credit: Seth Shostak
The reign of Le Grand K has come to an end. After 130 years, this hunk of metal sitting in a Parisian vault will no longer define the kilogram. The...

Bought by WRST-FM Oshkosh, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, WRGY, WMUU-LP, WHCP-LP and more


  • Added: Sep 09, 2019
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 10
Caption: Skeptic Check: Data Bias, Credit: Seth Shostak
Sexist snow plowing? Data that guide everything from snow removal schedules to heart research often fail to consider gender. In these cases, “ref...

Bought by Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, KCSB-FM, WHCP-LP, KBBI, WRGY and more


  • Added: Sep 02, 2019
  • Length: 54:01
  • Purchases: 10
Caption: Skeptic Check: Brain Gain, Credit: Seth Shostak
Looking to boost your brainpower? Luckily, there are products promising to help – smart drugs, neurofeedback exercises, and specially-designed vi...

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


  • Added: Aug 26, 2019
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 12
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, KMUN, KBBI, WMUU-LP and more


  • Added: Aug 19, 2019
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 10
Caption: Granting Immunity, Credit: Seth Shostak
“Diversity or die” could be your new health mantra. Don’t boost your immune system, cultivate it! Like a garden, your body’s defenses benefit from ...

Bought by WRST-FM Oshkosh, KSFR, KZMU Moab Community Radio, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, Royalton Community Radio and more


  • Added: Aug 12, 2019
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 14
Caption: Sci-Fi From the Future, Credit: Seth Shostak
Polls show that most Americans are uneasy about the unchecked growth of artificial intelligence and genetic engineering. We all hope to guide socie...

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


  • Added: Aug 05, 2019
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 11
Caption: Skeptic Check: Flat Earth, Credit: Seth Shostak
Flat Earthers believe that our planet resembles not a slightly squashed grapefruit but a thick pancake. We look at the difference between a truly...

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


  • Added: Jul 29, 2019
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 11
Caption: Let's Stick Together, Credit: Seth Shostak.
Crowds driving you crazy? Remember, we evolved to be together. Humans are not only social, we’re driven to care for one another. We look at some...

Bought by KUNM, Cove Mountain Educational Broadcasting, Royalton Community Radio, KICI, KCSB-FM and more


  • Added: Jul 22, 2019
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 12
Caption: Math's Paths, Credit: Seth Shostak
If you bake, you can appreciate math’s transformative properties. Admiring the stackable potato chip is to admire a hyperbolic sheet. Find out wh...

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


  • Added: Jul 15, 2019
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 12
Caption: DNA is Not Destiny, Credit: Seth Shostak
We used to think that the genes you inherited didn’t change. You were stuck – or blessed – with what you got. Now we know that’s not true. Epi...

Bought by 'The Sea', KUFM - Montana Public Radio, WGBH Radio Boston, Boise State Public Radio, CHSR-FM 97.9 and more


  • Added: Jul 08, 2019
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 16
Caption: Nailing the Moon Landing
Neil, Buzz, and Michael made it look effortless, but the moon landing was neither easy nor inevitable. So on July 20, 1969, despite enormous diffi...

Bought by KUFM - Montana Public Radio, CHSR-FM 97.9, KCPW, WCQS, WUFT and more


  • Added: Jul 01, 2019
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 19