Robert Krulwich

Robert Krulwich works on radio, podcasts, video, the blogosphere. He has been called "the most inventive network reporter in television" by TV Guide.

Krulwich is a Science Correspondent for NPR. His NPR blog, "Krulwich Wonders" features drawings, cartoons and videos that illustrate hard-to-see concepts in science.

He is the co-host of Radiolab, a nationally distributed radio/podcast series that explores new developments in science for people who are curious but not usually drawn to science shows. "There's nothing like it on the radio," says Ira Glass of This American Life, "It's a act of crazy genius." Radiolab won a Peabody Award in 2011.

His specialty is explaining complex subjects, science, technology, economics, in a style that is clear, compelling and entertaining. On television he has explored the structure of DNA using a banana; on radio he created an Italian opera, "Ratto Interesso" to explain how the Federal Reserve regulates interest rates; he has pioneered the use of new animation on ABC's Nightline and World News Tonight.

For 22 years, Krulwich was a science, economics, general assignment and foreign correspondent at ABC and CBS News.

He won Emmy awards for a cultural history of the Barbie doll, for a Frontline investigation of computers and privacy, a George Polk and Emmy for a look at the Savings & Loan bailout online advertising and the 2010 Essay Prize from the Iowa Writers' Workshop.

Krulwich earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from Oberlin College and a law degree from Columbia University.

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12:23pm

Mon April 8, 2013
Krulwich Wonders...

The Big Squeeze: Can Cities Save The Earth?

Originally published on Mon April 8, 2013 2:04 pm

Courtesy of Michael Wolf

Let's get dense. If we take all the atoms inside you, all roughly 70,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 of them, and squeeze away all the space inside, then, says physicist Brian Greene:

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9:16am

Fri March 8, 2013
Krulwich Wonders...

What Happened When Humans Met An Alien Intelligence? Sex Happened

Originally published on Mon March 25, 2013 12:50 pm

Courtesy of the Neanderthal Museum

11:02am

Fri January 25, 2013
Krulwich Wonders...

Falling Off The Moon

Originally published on Fri January 25, 2013 3:42 pm

YouTube

5:33am

Sat January 12, 2013
Krulwich Wonders...

Phooey On Flu

A lot of you have had it by now, or are having it or are about to be exposed. This year's flu is called "H3N2" and this week it's doing big business in about 47 states, Chicago and New York. If you've had a flu shot and if you wash your hands several times a day for 20 seconds, (which is the time it takes to hum "Happy Birthday to You" two times through) you might reduce your odds of getting sick.

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4:06am

Sat January 5, 2013
Krulwich Wonders...

A Very, Very, Very Delicate Balance

Originally published on Tue January 15, 2013 10:50 am

Stone balance art by Gravity Glue.
Courtesy of Gravity Glue

These rocks, says the artist, are not glued, not Velcroed. This is not a trick. Go ahead and click through our glossary of photographs. There are big rocks pirouetting on little ones, little ones dangling on top of big ones, pebbles tightly clumped and suspended in air ...

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9:38am

Wed January 2, 2013
Krulwich Wonders...

Grrr, Said The Grylloblattid. I'm Not Leaving. Not Yet.

Originally published on Wed January 2, 2013 3:01 pm

Robert Krulwich NPR

10:26am

Mon December 31, 2012
Krulwich Wonders...

Another Year And I'm Still Here: A New Year's Meditation

Originally published on Tue January 1, 2013 10:17 am

Rogier Wieland Vimeo

Updated Jan. 1, 2013: I've added a postscript to this post. You can find it at the bottom of this page.

Look at yourself. Right now.

You are muscle,skin, bone, brain, blood, warmed by energy, and all of you, every cell, even the subsets of those cells, all trillions and trillions of them, are going to tire, waste and depart. In 10 years almost every bit of you will have been replaced by new bits.

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9:40am

Wed November 21, 2012
Krulwich Wonders...

Double Thanks

Originally published on Wed November 21, 2012 10:58 am

monkey
vimeo

I'm giving thanks in two ways today, first for things that have lasted, persisted (and here's hoping they keep on going), and second — for change; for our ability to create beauty in new ways. So I'm saying thank you for what's old and what's new.

Thanksgiving, I think, can go both ways.

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10:05am

Mon November 19, 2012
Krulwich Wonders...

Why Not Say It Simply? How About Very Simply?

Originally published on Tue November 20, 2012 10:27 am

xkcd: "Another thing that is a bad problem is if you're flying toward space and the parts start to fall off your space car in the wrong order. If that happens, it means you won't go to space today, or maybe ever."
xkcd

There are people (and I hear from them constantly) who think if a subject is sophisticated, like science, the language that describes it should be sophisticated, too.

If smart people say torque, ribosome, limbic, stochastic and kinase, then the rest of us should knuckle down, concentrate and figure out what those words mean. That's how we'll know when we've learned something: when we've mastered the technical words.

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3:28am

Sat November 17, 2012
Krulwich Wonders...

The Big Apple's Mayor Makes A Very Scary Video

Originally published on Sat November 17, 2012 8:15 am

YouTube

8:21am

Tue November 13, 2012
Krulwich Wonders...

Death, But Softly

Originally published on Mon March 25, 2013 12:35 pm

Michel de Montaigne
Wikimedia Commons

It was 1569, or maybe early 1570, when it happened: A young French gentleman was out for a ride with his workers, all of them on horseback, when suddenly, "like a thunderbolt," he felt something thick and fleshy slam him from behind. (It was an overzealous, galloping assistant who couldn't stop in time.) Michel de Montaigne's horse crumbled, he went flying up, then down, he crashed to the ground. Then things went black.

When he came to, a minute or so later, he says,

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6:34am

Sat November 10, 2012
Krulwich Wonders...

Finnish Underwater Ice Fishing Mystery Finally Solved

That's ordinary air pouring out of the pail.
YouTube

I'm going to take you somewhere, but before I do, I should warn you that there's something not quite right about what you'll see. This place I'm going to show you will be astonishingly beautiful. It will be cold. It will be wet. But it will also be a touch — more than a touch — mysterious. So watch carefully.

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6:59am

Mon October 29, 2012
Krulwich Wonders...

Celebrating Autumn All Year Round ... By Becoming A Leaf

Originally published on Mon October 29, 2012 9:04 am

Piotr Naskrecki

It is autumn, and where I live the leaves are peaking; there is a riot of them everywhere, narrow ones, broad ones, droopy ones, crunchy ones. Leaves come in so many shapes, hues, textures — the closer you look, the more differences you see. Botanists have names for every leaf type, and clumped together, says writer Robert Dunn, they sound like free verse poetry ...

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8:45am

Fri October 19, 2012
Krulwich Wonders...

Charles Darwin And The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Aaron Birk

I guess everybody, even the smartest people who ever lived, have days when they feel dumb — really, really dumb. Oct. 1, 1861, was that kind of day for Charles Darwin.

In a letter to his friend Charles Lyell, Darwin says, "I am very poorly today," and then — and I want you to see this exactly as he wrote it, so you know this isn't a fake; it comes from the library of the American Philosophical Society, courtesy of their librarian Charles Greifenstein. Can you read it?

It says:

Whoah! You know the feeling, right?

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9:36am

Wed October 17, 2012
Krulwich Wonders...

Tough Old Lizard To Face Grave Romantic Troubles, Say Scientists

Originally published on Wed October 17, 2012 9:44 am

Courtesy of Piotr Naskrecki

Oh, dear.

First off, this lizard? It's not really a lizard. It's an almost vanished species, a reptile like no other.

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9:18am

Fri October 12, 2012
Krulwich Wonders...

Sun Goes Down. Up Comes A Mystery

Originally published on Fri October 12, 2012 9:53 am

minutephysics YouTube

Here's a question you probably didn't know was a question: Why is the sky dark at night?

My daughter asked me this about 10 years ago. We were looking up at the night sky, and she said, "There's lots of stars up there." And I said, "Yes."

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10:49am

Wed October 10, 2012
Krulwich Wonders...

Obama's Secret Weapon In The South: Small, Dead, But Still Kickin'

Originally published on Wed October 10, 2012 1:10 pm

Ron Blakey Northern Arizona University

Look at this map, and notice that deep, deep in the Republican South, there's a thin blue band stretching from the Carolinas through Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi. These are the counties that went for Obama in the last election. A blue crescent in a sea of red.

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9:20am

Wed October 3, 2012
Krulwich Wonders...

Are Those Spidery Black Things On Mars Dangerous? (Maybe)

Originally published on Thu October 4, 2012 2:43 pm

Michael Benson NASA/JPL/University of Arizona/Kinetikon Pictures

You are 200 miles directly above the Martian surface — looking down. This image was taken by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter on Jan. 27, 2010. (The color was added later.) What do we see? Well, sand, mostly. As you scroll down, there's a ridge crossing through the image, then a plain, then dunes, but keep looking. You will notice, when you get to the dunes, there are little black flecks dotting the ridges, mostly on the sunny side, like sunbathing spiders sitting in rows. Can you see them?

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10:56am

Mon October 1, 2012
Krulwich Wonders...

Do You Know Where Your Children Are? Is That Always A Good Thing?

Originally published on Mon October 1, 2012 11:32 am

iStockphoto

There was a time — and it wasn't that long ago — when kids would leave home on a summer morning and roam free. "I knew kids who were pushed out the door at eight in the morning," writes Bill Bryson of his childhood in the 1950s, "and not allowed back until five unless they were on fire or actively bleeding." That's what kids did. They went out. Parents let them, and everybody did it. "If you stood on any corner with a bike — any corner anywhere — more than a hundred children, many of whom you had never seen before, would appear and ask you where you were going," Bryson writes.

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8:49am

Fri September 21, 2012
Krulwich Wonders...

Getting Slower And Slower: How Slow Can You Go?

Originally published on Fri September 21, 2012 9:36 am

Vincent Liota

Before we go slow, let's go fast, so fast you can't go any faster. That would be light in a vacuum, traveling at 670 million miles per hour ...

Light, of course, can slow down. When light passes through water, it loses speed. A diamond is an even better speed bump. It can slow a beam of light by 40 percent.

But moving on, you and I are going pretty fast right now, though we don't notice. The planet we're on is zipping around the sun at 66,000-plus miles per hour ...

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