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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Krulwich Wonders...
12:34 pm
Wed August 28, 2013

How To Disappear When Someone's Spying On You

Courtesy of Adam Harvey

Originally published on Wed August 28, 2013 6:32 pm

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Krulwich Wonders...
12:00 pm
Mon August 12, 2013

This Pulsing Earth

John Nelson IDV Solutions

It's breathing, he thought. "All of a sudden I see a thing with a heartbeat."

John Nelson is a designer, well known for tracing complex weather patterns or cultural information on maps, so considering what he usually does, this was easy. NASA's Visible Earth team publishes pictures of our planet every month of the year, so John thought, why not stitch them together, and see what the seasons look like from outer space?

So he stitched, and then looked.

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Krulwich Wonders...
10:39 am
Mon June 17, 2013

Why Men Die Younger Than Women: The 'Guys Are Fragile' Thesis

YouTube

Originally published on Tue June 18, 2013 9:53 am

The 19th century just lost its last living man.

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Krulwich Wonders...
10:10 am
Wed June 5, 2013

MIT's Magic Bag Of Sand

NMANewsDirect You Tube

Originally published on Wed June 5, 2013 10:48 am

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Krulwich Wonders...
11:55 am
Wed April 17, 2013

A 'Whom Do You Hang With?' Map Of America

MIT Senseable City - "The Connected States of America"
MIT Senseable City Lab

Originally published on Fri April 26, 2013 1:31 pm

Look at the center of this map, at the little red dot that marks Kansas City. Technically, Kansas City is at the edge of Missouri, but here on this map it's in the upper middle section of a bigger space with strong blue borders. We don't have a name for this bigger space yet, but soon we will.

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Krulwich Wonders...
1:18 pm
Mon April 8, 2013

The Big Squeeze: Can Cities Save The Earth?

Courtesy of Michael Wolf

Originally published on Mon April 8, 2013 4:04 pm

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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Krulwich Wonders...
11:16 am
Fri March 8, 2013

What Happened When Humans Met An Alien Intelligence? Sex Happened

Courtesy of the Neanderthal Museum

Originally published on Mon March 25, 2013 2:50 pm

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Krulwich Wonders...
2:11 pm
Wed January 30, 2013

Pale Blue Blobs Invade, Freeze, Then Vanish

Courtesy of Emmanuel Coupe Kalomiris

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Krulwich Wonders...
1:02 pm
Fri January 25, 2013

Falling Off The Moon

YouTube

Originally published on Fri January 25, 2013 5:42 pm

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Krulwich Wonders...
6:02 am
Sat January 19, 2013

Miss Piggy's Version Of Global Warming: What About Me?

Click to go to the New Scientist App.
New Scientist

Originally published on Tue January 22, 2013 12:14 pm

Here's a new, sly (and frankly selfish) way to think about global warming: Instead of worrying about the whole planet and all its oceans, how about asking a more personal question ...

What about me? What about where I live? Or where my grandma lives? Or the North Pole? Or Siberia? What if I could take my cursor, plop it onto any place on Earth and find out what's happened to temperatures right there.

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Krulwich Wonders...
1:58 pm
Wed January 16, 2013

A Mysterious Patch Of Light Shows Up In The North Dakota Dark

Suomi NPP Satellite/NASA Earth Observatory

Originally published on Thu January 17, 2013 1:57 pm

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Krulwich Wonders...
7:33 am
Sat January 12, 2013

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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Krulwich Wonders...
10:05 am
Wed January 9, 2013

New Man On The Moon (And His Name Is Dean)

Vimeo

Originally published on Wed January 9, 2013 11:20 am

You can't see him at first.

He's off at the lower left, waiting for filmmaker Bryan Smith to say go. Then Dean Potter starts to climb, moving with no pack, no ropes, nothing, up the side of Cathedral Peak in Yosemite until he reaches the highline that will take him straight to the moon. He steps out, arms stretched, no pole; you can watch the line sag a little as it takes his weight, and he's off ...

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Krulwich Wonders...
12:08 pm
Tue January 8, 2013

'No, Thank You': The Mysterious Transformation Of 50-Year-Olds

Courtesy of Harry Dent

Harry Dent, a financial newsletter writer, has been looking at the Census data, and he's uncovered something odd about American adults. When we turn 50, we dramatically change our clothes-buying habits. It's not gradual; gradual is what we'd expect. Instead, the change is drastic.

You can see it with men's shirts. In our early 50s, American men are at the top of our shirt buying game (either buying more shirts than at any other time in our lives, or maybe we're buying more expensively). Then watch what happens:

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Krulwich Wonders...
6:06 am
Sat January 5, 2013

A Very, Very, Very Delicate Balance

Stone balance art by Gravity Glue.
Courtesy of Gravity Glue

Originally published on Tue January 15, 2013 12:50 pm

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Krulwich Wonders...
11:38 am
Wed January 2, 2013

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

Robert Krulwich NPR

Originally published on Wed January 2, 2013 5:01 pm

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Krulwich Wonders...
12:26 pm
Mon December 31, 2012

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

Rogier Wieland Vimeo

Originally published on Tue January 1, 2013 12:17 pm

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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Krulwich Wonders...
11:47 am
Tue December 4, 2012

New Superhero, 3,200 Years Old, Turns Air Into Wood Superfast

Robert Krulwich NPR

This is for you, Martina Navratilova, for you, Nolan Ryan, for you, Methuselah, for you, Jimmy Carter, and for all of you reading this if you're on the "wrong" side of 50 but still pumping. This week, we've got ourselves a role model, a poster boy for robust old age.

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Krulwich Wonders...
8:11 am
Fri November 30, 2012

Cornstalks Everywhere But Nothing Else, Not Even A Bee

David Liittschwager

Originally published on Fri November 30, 2012 11:19 am

We'll start in a cornfield — we'll call it an Iowa cornfield in late summer — on a beautiful day. The corn is high. The air is shimmering. There's just one thing missing — and it's a big thing...

...a very big thing, but I won't tell you what, not yet.

Instead, let's take a detour. We'll be back to the cornfield in a minute, but just to make things interesting, I'm going to leap halfway around the world to a public park near Cape Town, South Africa, where you will notice a cube, a metal cube, lying there in the grass.

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Krulwich Wonders...
11:40 am
Wed November 21, 2012

Double Thanks

monkey
vimeo

Originally published on Wed November 21, 2012 12:58 pm

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Krulwich Wonders...
11:57 am
Mon November 19, 2012

Why Not Say It Simply? How About Very Simply?

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

Originally published on Tue November 20, 2012 12:27 pm

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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Krulwich Wonders...
5:28 am
Sat November 17, 2012

The Big Apple's Mayor Makes A Very Scary Video

YouTube

Originally published on Sat November 17, 2012 10:15 am

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Krulwich Wonders...
10:21 am
Tue November 13, 2012

Death, But Softly

Michel de Montaigne
Wikimedia Commons

Originally published on Mon March 25, 2013 2:35 pm

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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Krulwich Wonders...
8:34 am
Sat November 10, 2012

Finnish Underwater Ice Fishing Mystery Finally Solved

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

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Krulwich Wonders...
11:18 am
Thu November 8, 2012

Mathematically Challenging Bagels

A guide to making a Mobius bagel. Cut along the black line.
George W. Hart

Originally published on Thu April 4, 2013 12:33 pm

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Krulwich Wonders...
8:59 am
Mon October 29, 2012

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

Piotr Naskrecki

Originally published on Mon October 29, 2012 11:04 am

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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Krulwich Wonders...
10:45 am
Fri October 19, 2012

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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Krulwich Wonders...
11:20 am
Wed October 17, 2012

Tough Old Lizard To Face Grave Romantic Troubles, Say Scientists

Courtesy of Piotr Naskrecki

Originally published on Wed October 17, 2012 11:44 am

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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Krulwich Wonders...
11:53 am
Fri October 12, 2012

Sun Goes Down. Up Comes A Mystery

minutephysics YouTube

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

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