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...
12:00 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...
4:35 am
Sat August 10, 2013

'Stopp!' 'Schnell!' Cried The Nazis Before The Dinosaur Ate Them

Boulet

His name is "Boulet." Just Boulet. He's French. He's had a blog for years and what we have here, as you will no doubt notice, is a rough French-to-English translation, but the words don't matter that much. This is a fantastic voyage, one of the coolest I've seen on the Web.

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Krulwich Wonders...
12:20 pm
Fri August 9, 2013

Mosquito Exclusive! Yes, They Bite, But Half The Time They Miss

Robert Krulwich NPR

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Krulwich Wonders...
7:58 am
Thu August 8, 2013

Watch Me Do Something Impossible In Three Totally Easy Steps

Robert Krulwich NPR

Originally published on Fri August 9, 2013 7:19 pm

Here's what the Swedish artist Oscar Reutersvard did. In 1934, he got himself a pen and paper and drew four cubes, like this.

Then he drew some more, like this.

And, then — and this is where he got mischievous — he drew one more set, like this.

He called this final version "Impossible Triangle of Opus 1 No. 293aa." I don't know what the "293aa" is about, but he was right about "impossible." An arrangement like this cannot take place in the physical universe as we know it.

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Krulwich Wonders...
11:33 am
Tue August 6, 2013

The Subtle Mysteries Of Dinosaur Sex

Robert Krulwich NPR

They dominated our planet for 130 million years. You can't do that without having babies, and to have babies, dinosaurs had to have sex. The mystery is — and this is still very much a mystery — we don't really know how they did it.

The key problems being:

First, dinosaur ladies and dinosaur gentlemen were roughly the same size. No big/little asymmetry as with spiders. With spiders, the little fellow mounts the big lady. There are no body-crushing weight issues.

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Krulwich Wonders...
4:44 am
Sat August 3, 2013

And Now For Something Completely Different

Krulwich Wonders...
1:28 pm
Tue July 30, 2013

Mysterious Dancing Lights In Afghanistan

Courtesy of Michael Yon

This isn't a painting. It's not from a movie. It's not a strange astronomical event. This is real — what you can see when certain helicopters in Afghanistan touch down on sandy ground, raising dust, causing mysterious arcs of light to loop and dance through the air.

This doesn't always happen. "The halos usually disappear as the rotors change pitch," wrote war photographer Michael Yon. "On some nights, on this very same landing zone, no halos form." How come?

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Krulwich Wonders...
12:35 pm
Mon July 29, 2013

What It's Like To Drop 150,000 Feet Straight Down

YouTube

Originally published on Mon July 29, 2013 1:55 pm

If I say "meet me 28 miles from here," that doesn't seem very far, right? You could take a taxi, a bus; if pushed you might even make it on a bike.

But what if the 28 miles is not on a road or a highway, but straight up, 150,000 feet — that's high. So high, we're out of the life zone. Up in the silence.

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Krulwich Wonders...
8:13 am
Wed July 24, 2013

Who Does A Better Wave? Sports Fans Or Hippos?

Robert Krulwich NPR

Originally published on Wed July 24, 2013 10:43 am

Professor William Barklow was on vacation when this happened. He was in Tanzania sitting on a river bank gazing about, when all of a sudden a hippopotamus pushed its head out of the river right in front of him, opened its huge mouth and bellowed.

It was really loud. Barklow could feel sound waves hitting his chest, his neck; he could hear the cry echoing along the riverbank. He knew next to nothing about hippos being himself a bird man, a specialist on the North American loon, but he was intrigued by what happened next.

Hippo Chorusing

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Krulwich Wonders...
11:25 am
Thu July 18, 2013

What Is 10 Trillion Times More Powerful Than A Heartbeat?

Robert Krulwich NPR

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Krulwich Wonders...
1:08 pm
Mon July 15, 2013

I Bet I Can Create A 25 Million-Year-Old False Alarm, Says Biologist E.O. Wilson

Noah Poritz Science Source

Originally published on Mon July 15, 2013 4:33 pm

The world's most famous ant-scholar likes to daydream. "So much good science — and perhaps all of great science," he writes in his new book "has its roots in fantasy."

Here's his.

After seeing Jurassic Park, where scientists clone dinosaurs from the blood of ancient dino-biting mosquitoes,Wilson thought: Hmmm, that's a little far-fetched, but I bet I can do a version that might be "really and truly possible."

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Krulwich Wonders...
12:31 pm
Fri July 12, 2013

The Hardest Thing To Find In The Universe?

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sat July 13, 2013 3:06 am

What is rarer than a shooting star?

Rarer than a diamond?

Rarer than any metal, any mineral, so rare that if you scan the entire earth, all six million billion billion kilos or 13,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 pounds of our planet, you would find only one ounce of it?

What is so rare it has never been seen directly, because if you could get enough of it together, it would self-vaporize from its own radioactive heat?

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Krulwich Wonders...
2:04 pm
Mon July 8, 2013

Where's My Dinner? It Was Here A Second Ago — The Sandpiper's Dilemma

Robert Krulwich NPR

They scuttle, peck, scuttle, peck, then they dash up the shoreline, dodging waves, heads down, concentrating. What are they doing? They're "looking for something, something, something," writes the poet Elisabeth Bishop.

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Krulwich Wonders...
1:02 pm
Tue July 2, 2013

Democracy, My Mother And Toast

Robert Krulwich NPR

When they proposed it in the 1770s, it was such a novel idea. That instead of a king anointed by God, instead of a sage, instead of one leader telling all of us what to do, we should, every four years, all of us, pick our own leader, who would serve for a season, and then, job done, gently depart.

Nothing like this had been tried for thousands of years. Somehow, together we would be wiser than a single king. We would lead ourselves.

In principle, democracy seems noble, beautiful even.

At my family dinner table, I wondered a little. More than a little.

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Krulwich Wonders...
1:40 pm
Mon July 1, 2013

A Beautiful Notion: That Caterpillars Killed Off The Dinosaurs

Robert Krulwich NPR

Originally published on Tue July 2, 2013 11:52 am

For the last hundred years, scientists have been wondering why the dinosaurs disappeared so quickly. Was there one key reason, or several?

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Krulwich Wonders...
8:18 am
Fri June 28, 2013

Artist Plays Detective: Can I Reconstruct A Face From A Piece Of Hair?

Vimeo

Her techniques aren't super-sophisticated. She's not a leader in the field. She's more or less an amateur. This is what you can do with ordinary genetic engineering tools right now. Artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg can find a cigarette lying on the sidewalk on Myrtle Avenue in Brooklyn, and working from traces of saliva, by pulling DNA out of those saliva cells and using a bunch of simple algorithms available online, she can make some very educated guesses about what the smoker might look like.

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Krulwich Wonders...
10:56 am
Thu June 27, 2013

7 Billion People And Trillions Of Creatures To Be Photographed Together On July 19

NASA

Originally published on Tue July 16, 2013 11:40 am

It's going to be a very small picture, but we're all going to be in it. All trillions of us on Earth.

It's not our first group portrait, but Carolyn Porco, the woman in charge, says it's going to be gasp-worthy. She should know. She helped shoot some of the early ones.

What am I talking about?

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Krulwich Wonders...
11:49 am
Tue June 25, 2013

The Man With A 'Battery Operated Brain'

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1PFknl5YFsE

He calls himself the "human with the battery operated brain" because he does, in fact, have electrodes in his head, put there by his New Zealand doctors.

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Krulwich Wonders...
12:21 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

The Love That Dared Not Speak Its Name, Of A Beetle For A Beer Bottle

YouTube

Originally published on Thu June 27, 2013 5:35 pm

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Krulwich Wonders...
12:33 pm
Tue June 18, 2013

Isn't That King David? Nope, It's Just Dave

Photo and idea conception: Léo Caillard; Retouching: Alexis Persani

Originally published on Tue June 18, 2013 12:48 pm

Usually they're naked, ancient and stony. But all of a sudden, they could live next door.

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