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...
6:05 am
Sat January 26, 2013

Weekend Special: The Slobbering Cat That Stole My Heart

Courtesy of The Oatmeal

Maybe you already know about this, maybe I'm in love, maybe this is just me and my particular craziness, but I want you to click on the image below. It's Mathew Inman's (who calls himself "The Oatmeal") story, handwritten, hand drawn, about his cat, Domino.

There are, we all know, wonderful sites all over the web, but every so often somebody comes along and rejuggles words, pictures and plays with space, remixing elements to very quietly find new beats, new ways to tell a story. That is what Mathew did here. At least I think so.

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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...
8:34 am
Thu January 24, 2013

Wile E. Coyote Teaches Math (And Despair) To Lucky Students In New Zealand

Originally published on Thu January 24, 2013 10:07 am

There's something about being upside down (from all of us in the Northern Hemisphere) that makes New Zealanders a little melancholy. At least that's my theory.

My evidence? Well, the other day, I was looking at a curriculum guide for math teachers ("maths" teachers, they would say) on the New Zealand Ministry of Education's site, where the text on top says, We want to equip "all New Zealanders with the knowledge, skills, and values to be successful citizens in the 21st century."

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Krulwich Wonders...
11:45 am
Tue January 22, 2013

Nature Has A Formula That Tells Us When It's Time To Die

Courtesy of Yunfun Tan

Originally published on Sat January 26, 2013 10:19 pm

Editor's Note: Robert has added a postscript to this post. Scroll down or click here to read it.


We wax, we wane. It's the dance of life.

Every living thing is a pulse. We quicken, then we fade. There is a deep beauty in this, but deeper down, inside every plant, every leaf, inside every living thing (us included) sits a secret.

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Krulwich Wonders...
8:39 am
Fri January 18, 2013

No Fists, Gentlemen, Just Necks. The Ali & Frazier Of The Giraffe World

iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri January 18, 2013 10:18 am

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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
Fri January 11, 2013

The Oldest Rock In The World Tells Us A Story

Steve Munsinger Photo Researchers Inc.

Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 1:51 pm

It's hard to imagine how this teeny little rock — it's not even a whole rock, it's just a grain, a miniscule droplet of mineral barely the thickness of a human hair — could rewrite the history of our planet. But that's what seems to be happening.

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Krulwich Wonders...
11:20 am
Wed January 9, 2013

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

Vimeo

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...
12:12 pm
Wed October 24, 2012

When You're Almost Extinct, Your Price Goes Up

Illustration by NPR

Originally published on Wed October 24, 2012 12:35 pm

When a species gets rare, its market value rises. The higher its price, the more it's hunted. The more it's hunted, the rarer it gets. Not a happy cycle, and this keeps happening ...

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Krulwich Wonders...
1:16 pm
Tue October 23, 2012

See No Evil, Say No Evil. But As for Hearing? Hmmm

Dorit Hockman Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience, University of Cambridge

Originally published on Tue October 23, 2012 3:07 pm

These are baby bats — embryos actually. They remind me of those See No Evil, Say No Evil, Hear No Evil monkey pictures I saw growing up, but these little guys are much, much cuter. And, of course, being bats, the hearing thing doesn't apply. Bats don't hear with our kind of ears, so of course, there's no covering-ears-up picture. That wouldn't make bat sense.

This photograph was taken by Dorit Hockman of Cambridge University. It's the 20th place winner in the Nikon Small World 2012 Photomicrography Competition.

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Krulwich Wonders...
12:33 pm
Mon October 22, 2012

How Human Beings Almost Vanished From Earth In 70,000 B.C.

Robert Krulwich NPR

Add all of us up, all 7 billion human beings on earth, and clumped together we weigh roughly 750 billion pounds. That, says Harvard biologist E.O. Wilson, is more than 100 times the biomass of any large animal that's ever walked the Earth. And we're still multiplying. Most demographers say we will hit 9 billion before we peak, and what happens then?

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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...
11:02 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...
8:43 am
Mon October 15, 2012

Be Nice To The Moon. Stop Writing On It

Kathy Lynch via Panoramio

Originally published on Mon October 15, 2012 12:09 pm

Dot

Dash

Dot

Dash

This is the moon as Morse code.

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Krulwich Wonders...
8:33 am
Sun October 14, 2012

Weekend Special: When Cities, People and Highways Glow Like Stars

Justin Wilkinson NASA via TheChive

In this video, we are flying over the Earth, looking down and seeing what astronauts see when it's nighttime, when lightning storms flash like June bugs, when cities look like galaxies, when you can see where people are. It's quietly astonishing.

This montage of space footage was assembled and narrated by NASA scientist Justin Wilkinson. There's another one, which takes us around the Earth in daytime.

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Krulwich Wonders...
11:45 am
Fri October 12, 2012

Sun Goes Down. Up Comes A Mystery

minutephysics YouTube

Originally published on Fri October 12, 2012 11:53 am

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

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Krulwich Wonders...
12:49 pm
Wed October 10, 2012

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

Ron Blakey Northern Arizona University

Originally published on Wed October 10, 2012 3:10 pm

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

Eat Your Heart Out, Columbus: A Sailing Ship That Travels On Sunshine

Emmanuel Leutze Wikimedia Commons

Originally published on Wed October 10, 2012 11:29 am

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Krulwich Wonders...
10:12 am
Fri October 5, 2012

Animals Who Love to Rub Themselves With Ants. Is This Addictive?

Adam Cole NPR

Originally published on Fri October 5, 2012 11:28 am

This is how we do it.

This is how they do it.

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