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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.


148 Pieces

Order by: Newest First | Oldest First
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 KTAL-LP [Las Cruces Community Radio], KDX, KMRE-LP, WYAP, XRAY.fm and more


  • Added: Feb 13, 2017
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 22
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 Delta College Public Radio, WRIR, KREV-LP, KMRE-LP, WRST-FM Oshkosh and more


  • Added: Oct 05, 2015
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 18
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 KRPS, 91.7 WHUS Storrs, KSKQ, WMUU-LP, KMRE-LP and more


  • Added: Oct 12, 2015
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 8
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 KKWE Niijii Radio, WYAP, KREV-LP, KSKQ, WMUU-LP and more


  • Added: Sep 28, 2015
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 11
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 KTSW 89.9, WMUU-LP, XRAY.fm, RadioFreePalmer, WRIR and more


  • Added: Jan 09, 2017
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 18
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 91.7 WHUS Storrs, WMUU-LP, KMRE-LP, XRAY.fm, KTSW 89.9 and more


  • Added: Nov 28, 2016
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 20
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 WMUU-LP, 91.7 WHUS Storrs, RadioFreePalmer, XRAY.fm, WRGY and more


  • Added: Jan 02, 2017
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 16
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 KUNM, KMRE-LP, WMUU-LP, RadioFreePalmer, KTSW 89.9 and more


  • Added: Sep 26, 2016
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 17
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 WRIR, WRST-FM Oshkosh, KMRE-LP, WMUU-LP, KREV-LP and more


  • Added: Aug 10, 2015
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 11
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
Caption: Moral's Law, Credit: Seth Shostak
“If it bleeds, it leads” they say in the news biz. Indeed, headlines are often no more than a long list of moral atrocities. Yet one man argues t...

Bought by KMRE-LP, WMUU-LP, RadioFreePalmer, KTSW 89.9, WRIR and more


  • Added: Oct 24, 2016
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 18
Caption: Forget to Remember, Credit: Seth Shostak
You must not remember this. Indeed, forgetting may be key to having a healthy brain. Our gray matter evolved to forget things, yet we’re building...

Bought by KMRE-LP, WMUU-LP, KSFR, WRGY, WPSU and more


  • Added: Jul 13, 2015
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 11
Caption: Dogged Pursuit of Pluto, Credit: Seth Shostak
Pluto is ready for its close up - but the near encounter during this historic flyby will last less than three minutes. Be ready for the action wit...

Bought by KMRE-LP, KREV-LP, WRGY, KSKQ, KPVL and more


  • Added: Jul 10, 2015
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 12
Caption: What the Hack, Credit: Seth Shostak
A computer virus that bombards you with pop-up ads is one thing. A computer virus that shuts down a city’s electric grid is another. Welcome to t...

Bought by KKWE Niijii Radio, WPSU, KUNM, KSKQ, RadioFreePalmer and more


  • Added: Jun 29, 2015
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 9
Caption: Skeptic Check: Evolutionary Arms Race, Credit: Seth Shostak
It's hard to imagine the twists and turns of evolution that gave rise to Homo Sapiens. After all, it required geologic time, and the existence of ...

Bought by KSKQ, RadioFreePalmer, KRPS, WRIR, and WRGY


  • Added: Jun 22, 2015
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 5
Caption: It's All Relative, Credit: Seth Shostak
How Einstein’s theories radically changed our ideas about space, time, and gravity. His ideas may be esoteric, but they’re essential to such every...

Bought by KREV-LP, KPIP-LP, KSKQ, RadioFreePalmer, KRPS and more


  • Added: Jun 15, 2015
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 8
Caption: And To Space We Return, Credit: Seth Shostak
Earth may be the cradle of life, but our bodies are filled with materials cooked up billions of years ago in the scorching centers of stars. An as...

Bought by WMUU-LP, KMRE-LP, KTSW 89.9, WRGY, RadioFreePalmer and more


  • Added: Nov 07, 2016
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 13
Caption: Math's Days Are Numbered, Credit: Seth Shostak
Are math’s days numbered? Some say that algebra is the Latin of today’s world – old school. So what happens if we do away with math class? Forg...

Bought by KSKQ, KREV-LP, RadioFreePalmer, WYAP, KRPS and more


  • Added: Jun 01, 2015
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 8
Caption: They Know Who You Are, Credit: Seth Shostak
You’re a private person. But as long as you’re on-line and have skin and hair, you’re shedding little bits of data and DNA everywhere you go. Fin...

Bought by WGBH Radio Boston, WMUU-LP, RadioFreePalmer, KTSW 89.9, KMRE-LP and more


  • Added: Aug 22, 2016
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 15
Caption: Emergence, Credit: Seth Shostak
Your brain is made up of cells. Each one does its own thing. But remarkable behavior emerges when lots of them join up in the grey matter club. ...

Bought by KREV-LP, KUNM, KSKQ, RadioFreePalmer, KRPS and more


  • Added: May 11, 2015
  • Length: 54:00
  • Purchases: 7