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...
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

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Krulwich Wonders...
11:55 am
Fri July 26, 2013

Hot People And Cold Cars; Cold People And Hot Cars

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri July 26, 2013 2:26 pm

It's high summer, yes, but blink and soon it will be fall, and trees will turn red, brown, beige, yellow, pale green and gold. But not cars. Cars may be making the Earth warmer, but their colors, I notice, have turned wintry.

Take a look at this chart, put together by DuPont. It's their 2012 Automotive Global Color Popularity Report for the planet.

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Krulwich Wonders...
11:48 am
Thu July 25, 2013

Look What You've Done, North America!

Robert Krulwich NPR

Originally published on Mon August 5, 2013 4:25 pm

This is the story of two continents doing battle, North America versus South America. It is also a biological mystery.

For a very long time, North America and South America were separate land masses. The Pacific Ocean slipped between them, flowing into the Caribbean. The Isthmus of Panama was there, but it was underwater. The two continents didn't touch.

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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...
11:40 am
Fri July 19, 2013

Just Like Van Gogh, Ocean Waves Paint Clouds In The Sky

YouTube

If you can't get to a beach this weekend, you can still see waves. Just look up.

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

What Is 10 Trillion Times More Powerful Than A Heartbeat?

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...
6:03 am
Sat July 13, 2013

'Why You? Why Now?' A Med Student's Journal

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sat July 13, 2013 8:02 am

I guess doctors, especially doctors-in-training, have to get used to sudden, inexplicable endings. You are trained to heal. That's the goal, that's the point. But every so often, you don't win. Something you didn't see coming, comes. I don't know which hurts more, the 'suddenly' or the 'why?" If the patient is clearly dying, it's easier. You can prepare.

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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...
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...
2:38 am
Sat June 29, 2013

Stroke, Stroke, Stroke — The Atlantic Ocean's Dazzling Oarsmen

Gregory G. Dimijian Science Source

At night, in the ocean, they look like little Broadway billboards with dazzling trills of rainbow colored light. They have eight little runways on their bodies for light display. What are they?

They're called comb jellies. They're not jellyfish. They don't pulse like jellies. They seem to hang. You can find them bobbing off eastern beaches from Massachusetts to the Carolinas and if you pull them up (you can, they don't sting), they're goopy, gelatinous clumps vaguely shaped like walnuts.

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