Big Picture Science

by Big Picture Science · · · · 148 subscribers

The surprising connections in science and technology that give you the Big Picture. Astronomer Seth Shostak and science journalist Molly Bentley are joined each week by leading researchers, techies, and journalists to provide a smart and humorous take on science. Our regular "Skeptic Check" episodes cast a critical eye on pseudoscience.

We Are VR May 7, 2018
Will virtual reality make you a better person? It’s been touted as the “ultimate empathy machine,” and one that will connect people who are otherwise emotionally and physically isolated. The promise of the technology has come a long...
What Have You Got To Move April 30, 2018
ENCORE Whether they swim, slither, jump, or fly, animal locomotion is more than just an urge to roam: it’s necessary for survival. Evolution has come up with ingenious schemes to get from here to there. Hear how backbones evolved...
What Have You Got To Move April 30, 2018
ENCORE Whether they swim, slither, jump, or fly, animal locomotion is more than just an urge to roam: it’s necessary for survival. Evolution has come up with ingenious schemes to get from here to there. Hear how backbones evolved...
High Moon April 23, 2018
"The moon or bust” is now officially bust. No private company was able to meet the Lunar X Prize challenge, and arrange for a launch by the 2018 deadline. The $30 million award goes unclaimed, but the race to the moon is still on. Find...
Hundreds of thousands of scientists took to the streets during the March for Science. The divisive political climate has spurred some scientists to deeper political engagement – publicly challenging lawmakers and even running for office...
Brain Dust April 9, 2018
ENCORE Know your brain? Think again. Driven by a hidden agenda, powered by an indecipherable web of neurons, and influenced by other brains, your grey matter is a black box. To "know thyself" may be a challenge, and free will...
Brain Dust April 9, 2018
ENCORE Know your brain? Think again. Driven by a hidden agenda, powered by an indecipherable web of neurons, and influenced by other brains, your grey matter is a black box. To "know thyself" may be a challenge, and free will...
Hawkingravity April 2, 2018
Stephen Hawking felt gravity’s pull. His quest to understand this feeble force spanned his career, and he was the first to realize that black holes actually disappear – slowly losing the mass of everything they swallow in a dull, evaporative...
ENCORE Sherlock Holmes doesn’t have a science degree, yet he thinks rationally – like a scientist. You can too! Learn the secrets of being irritatingly logical from the most famous sleuth on Baker Street. Plus, discover why animal trackers...
ENCORE Sherlock Holmes doesn’t have a science degree, yet he thinks rationally – like a scientist. You can too! Learn the secrets of being irritatingly logical from the most famous sleuth on Baker Street. Plus, discover why animal trackers...
The X-Flies March 19, 2018
Insect populations are declining. But before you say “good riddance,” consider that insects are the cornerstone of many ecosystems. They are dinner for numerous animal species and are essential pollinators. Mammals are...
Shell on Earth March 12, 2018
ENCORE We all may retreat to our protective shells, but evolution has perfected the calcite variety to give some critters permanent defense against predators. So why did squids and octopuses lose their shells? Find out what these...
Space: Why Go There? March 5, 2018
It takes a lot of energy and technology to leave terra firma. But why rocket into space when there’s so much to be done on Earth? From the practical usefulness of satellites to the thrill of exploring other worlds, let us count the ways. The...
Meet Your Robot Barista Feb. 26, 2018
Move over Roomba. Café robots are the latest in adorable automation. And they may be more than a fad. As robots and artificial intelligence enter the workforce, they could serve up more than machine-made macchiato. Digital workers are in...
Quantum: Why We Want 'Em Feb. 19, 2018
ENCORE Einstein thought that quantum mechanics might be the end of physics, and most scientists felt sure it would never be useful. Today, everything from cell phones to LED lighting is completely dependent on the weird behavior described...
Quantum: Why We Want 'Em Feb. 19, 2018
ENCORE Einstein thought that quantum mechanics might be the end of physics, and most scientists felt sure it would never be useful. Today, everything from cell phones to LED lighting is completely dependent on the weird behavior described...
Bacteria to the Future Feb. 12, 2018
Why did the chicken take antibiotics? To fatten it up and prevent bacterial infection. As a result, industrial farms have become superbug factories, threatening our life-saving antibiotics. Find out how our wonder drugs became bird feed, and how...
Creative Brains Feb. 5, 2018
Your cat is smart, but its ability to choreograph a ballet or write computer code isn’t great. A lot of animals are industrious and clever, but humans are the only animal that is uniquely ingenious and creative. Neuroscientist David...
It was a shocker of a story, splashed across the New York Times front page: The existence of a five-year long, hidden Pentagon investigation of UFOs. With one-third of the American public convinced that aliens are visiting Earth, could...
It was a shocker of a story, splashed across the New York Times front page: The existence of a five-year long, hidden Pentagon investigation of UFOs. With one-third of the American public convinced that aliens are visiting Earth, could...