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 March 16, 2013

The Naming Of The Shrew

Carl Buell

It looks kinda like a squirrel, except its ears are too small, its tail is ratty, then bushy, and its mouth? Definitely un-squirrel. More like a shrew, a fox, or a dog. And the teeth? Strange. What is it?

It's an act of edited, elegant imagination.

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Krulwich Wonders...
9:04 am
Fri March 15, 2013

Pacific Island, Bigger Than Manhattan, Vanishes

Auckland Museum flickr

You can see it on this Google Map — a little spit of land, sitting between Australia (on the left) and French-governed New Caledonia (on the right).

It's called "Sandy Island." In the Times Atlas of the World it's called "Sable Island." On both maps it's a conspicuous land mass, roughly 15 miles long from north to south, three miles across. Altogether, that's about 45 square miles — about one and a half times the size of Manhattan.

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Krulwich Wonders...
11:39 am
Thu March 14, 2013

Let's Get Literal: Calculating Pi With Pies. Actual Pies

YouTube

Today is March 14, or "3/14," the first three digits of Pi. It's a day celebrated around the (geek) world as "Pi Day." Pi, of course, is the ratio of the circumference to the diameter of a circle. It was first recorded by Archimedes, but you can replicate his discovery in all kinds of ways.

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Krulwich Wonders...
1:49 pm
Mon March 11, 2013

The History Of Mankind In Five Words, And Other Things Reza Knows

Poorly Drawn Lines

Here are some of the things Reza Farazmand knows. He knows how we dream.

He knows how we hurt ...

He knows how little we know.

And, in his sly way, he knows about imagination ...

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Krulwich Wonders...
6:22 am
Sat March 9, 2013

Guy Builds Solar-Powered Death Ray In His Backyard (Yawn)

YouTube

Aatish, a guy I follow on Twitter, tosses this stuff off like it's no biggie, but that's because he's a physics grad student. He knows things I don't know. And because I don't know them, what he finds mildly amusing makes me gasp. Really.

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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...
11:54 am
Wed March 6, 2013

Neil Tyson Pounds The Table, Demanding A Future, Now!

Frederick M. Brown Getty Images

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Krulwich Wonders...
12:49 pm
Mon March 4, 2013

How To Produce A Billion Flowers On The Very Same Day

Robert Krulwich NPR

Before we get to today's topic (flower blooming), let's take a Sloth Break. I know this isn't usual, but hey, I think everybody should see this adorable baby sloth named Matty giving his human caretaker, Claire, a flower. If you've already seen it, jump ahead to my essay. But if you haven't? Well, your day is about to get a wee bit lovelier.

OK, I just had to. Now we can start.

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Krulwich Wonders...
11:38 am
Thu February 28, 2013

MIT Invents A Machine That Can Look At Batman's Face And See His Heart Beating

The New York Times YouTube

Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 11:53 am

My pal Erik Olsen at The New York Times has just described an extraordinary new way to look at people. You point a camera at someone, record the image and then, using an "amplifier," you can discover things you've never seen before.

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Krulwich Wonders...
10:16 am
Thu February 28, 2013

Go Away! I Want You As Far Away From Me As Possible (How Big Is The Universe?)

Minute Physics YouTube

Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 2:13 pm

If you were the Lord High Poo-bah of the Planet Xantar, and you wanted to banish someone to the farthest edge of the universe, here's a handy dandy instruction manual that ...

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Krulwich Wonders...
9:46 am
Wed February 27, 2013

Close Your Eyes And Imagine A Protein. See Anything? A Housefly, Maybe?

Courtesy of Maja Klevanski

Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 10:09 am

Pay no attention to this housefly. We'll get to it later, but first, how about a "Do You Recognize This?" quiz.

If I say "DNA," what do you see? Well, instantly, you see one of these:

But what if I say "protein"? What comes to mind? Anything?

Well, for many people, "protein" is what you find on a plate ...

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Krulwich Wonders...
10:25 am
Tue February 26, 2013

Flying Plates Learn To Catch Flying Poles In Switzerland

YouTube

Originally published on Tue February 26, 2013 10:40 am

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Krulwich Wonders...
11:32 am
Mon February 25, 2013

What's That Thing Hanging Outside My Bathroom Window? My Neighbor's Drone

YouTube

Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 12:08 pm

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Krulwich Wonders...
10:08 am
Tue February 19, 2013

The Filibuster Solution, Or 'What If Honeybees Ran The U.S. Senate?'

Adam Cole NPR

Bees are democrats. They vote. When a community of bees has to make a choice, like where to build a new hive, they meet, debate and decide. But here's what they don't do: they don't filibuster. No single bee (or small band of bees) will stand against the majority, insisting and insisting for hours. They can't.

Bee biology prevents it.

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Krulwich Wonders...
9:53 am
Fri February 15, 2013

A Crazy But Rational Solution To Our Electoral College Problem

Courtesy of Fake Is The New Real

Originally published on Fri February 15, 2013 2:26 pm

Let's pretend. Let's pretend that politics doesn't matter, politicians don't matter, history doesn't matter, nostalgia doesn't matter, emotion doesn't matter, habit doesn't matter, romance doesn't matter, prejudice doesn't matter — all that matters is good old rational, mathematical, look-at-the-numbers common sense.

And now let's look at the Electoral College.

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