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...
9:49 am
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 12:10 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...
7:41 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 8:28 am

This is how we do it.

This is how they do it.

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Krulwich Wonders...
8:20 am
Wed October 3, 2012

Are Those Spidery Black Things On Mars Dangerous? (Maybe)

Michael Benson NASA/JPL/University of Arizona/Kinetikon Pictures

Originally published on Thu October 4, 2012 1:43 pm

You are 200 miles directly above the Martian surface — looking down. This image was taken by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter on Jan. 27, 2010. (The color was added later.) What do we see? Well, sand, mostly. As you scroll down, there's a ridge crossing through the image, then a plain, then dunes, but keep looking. You will notice, when you get to the dunes, there are little black flecks dotting the ridges, mostly on the sunny side, like sunbathing spiders sitting in rows. Can you see them?

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Krulwich Wonders...
9:56 am
Mon October 1, 2012

Do You Know Where Your Children Are? Is That Always A Good Thing?

iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon October 1, 2012 10:32 am

There was a time — and it wasn't that long ago — when kids would leave home on a summer morning and roam free. "I knew kids who were pushed out the door at eight in the morning," writes Bill Bryson of his childhood in the 1950s, "and not allowed back until five unless they were on fire or actively bleeding." That's what kids did. They went out. Parents let them, and everybody did it. "If you stood on any corner with a bike — any corner anywhere — more than a hundred children, many of whom you had never seen before, would appear and ask you where you were going," Bryson writes.

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Krulwich Wonders...
7:49 am
Fri September 21, 2012

Getting Slower And Slower: How Slow Can You Go?

Vincent Liota

Originally published on Fri September 21, 2012 8:36 am

Before we go slow, let's go fast, so fast you can't go any faster. That would be light in a vacuum, traveling at 670 million miles per hour ...

Light, of course, can slow down. When light passes through water, it loses speed. A diamond is an even better speed bump. It can slow a beam of light by 40 percent.

But moving on, you and I are going pretty fast right now, though we don't notice. The planet we're on is zipping around the sun at 66,000-plus miles per hour ...

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Krulwich Wonders...
6:44 am
Wed September 19, 2012

U.S. Explodes Atomic Bombs Near Beers To See If They Are Safe To Drink

National Technical Information Service via Alex Wellerstein

Originally published on Wed September 19, 2012 1:34 pm

So you're minding your own business when all of a sudden, a nuclear bomb goes off, there's a shock wave, fires all around, general destruction and you, having somehow survived, need a drink. What can you do? There is no running water, not where you are. But there is a convenience store. It's been crushed by the shock wave, but there are still bottles of beer, Coke and diet soda intact on the floor.

So you wonder: Can I grab one of those beers and gulp it down? Or is it too radioactive? And what about taste? If I drink it, will it taste OK?

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Krulwich Wonders...
10:03 am
Mon September 17, 2012

Which Is Greater, The Number Of Sand Grains On Earth Or Stars In The Sky?

Gilles Chapdelaine NASA & ESA

Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 6:53 am

Here's an old, old, question, but this time with a surprise twist. The question is — and I bet you asked it when you were 8 years old and sitting on a beach: Which are there more of — grains of sand on the Earth or stars in the sky?

Obviously, grains and stars can't be counted, not literally. But you can guestimate.

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Krulwich Wonders...
8:58 am
Fri September 7, 2012

Volcano Shoots Geyser Of Water Up Into Space

Michael Benson

Originally published on Tue October 9, 2012 8:53 am

What we have here is a moon — a small one (slightly wider than the state of Arizona) — circling Saturn.

If you look closely, you will see a small splay of light at its top, looking like a circular fountain.

That's because it is a fountain — of sorts. A bunch of volcano-like jets are sending fantastically high geysers of water vapor up into the sky, so high that you can see them in this remarkable print by Michael Benson, back lit by light bouncing off of Saturn.

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Krulwich Wonders...
5:39 am
Wed September 5, 2012

What's With Frosty? Why Isn't He Showing Up On Time?

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed September 5, 2012 5:57 am

Check out this graph of America's "Growing Season" — it measures the number of continuous days and nights when it never gets below 32 degrees. You could call this our "frost-free" time of year. In many places, the frost-free season begins in the spring and ends somewhere in October.

As you can see, over the 20th century, it's been staying frost-free longer...and longer...and longer...

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Krulwich Wonders...
4:16 pm
Sun August 26, 2012

The Eulogy That Wasn't: The Fate Neil Armstrong Evaded

Neil Armstrong casts a shadow in a photograph he took of the lunar lander Eagle near the end of his historic moonwalk.
Neil Armstrong NASA

Originally published on Sun August 26, 2012 1:23 pm

On July 18, 1969, President Nixon's speechwriter Bill Safire drafted a statement — a just-in-case statement. The manned mission to the Moon was only days away. The White House was preparing for all contingencies. According to Safire, the chances of getting Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin onto the moon were pretty good.

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Krulwich Wonders...
10:54 pm
Sat August 11, 2012

Weekend Special: Underwater Torpedo Adopted By A Group Of Traveling Mammals

Vimeo

Originally published on Sat August 11, 2012 12:06 pm

Why Mark Peters and his friends Jeremy, Dave and William had a torpedo onboard their fishing boat, I don't know.

These four guys were looking for tuna 20 miles off Santa Cruz, and not doing too badly. In the first minute of this video, shot last week on Aug. 6, they catch a nice fish. Then they take the torpedo, which Mark built to carry a GoPro high-definition camera, drop it in the water, and something crazy happens.

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Radiolab

Radiolab is an experiential investigation that explores themes and ideas through a patchwork of people, sounds, and stories. In each episode, Radiolab experiments with sound and style allowing science to fuse with culture, and information to sound like music. Hosted by Jad Abumrad with co-host Robert Krulwich, Radiolab is designed for listeners who demand skepticism but appreciate wonder; who are curious about the world, but also want to be moved and surprised. Radiolab won a Peabody Award in 2011.

Krulwich Wonders...
9:10 am
Tue July 24, 2012

Which Is Bigger: A Human Brain Or The Universe?

Robert Krulwich NPR

Originally published on Tue July 24, 2012 10:46 am

This is one of those fun-to-think-about questions. A brain isn't much to look at, after all. It's about the size of your two fists put together, three pounds to hold, but oh my, what it can do.

With our brains, we can think backwards, imagine forwards, conjure, create things that don't exist, leap vast distances. For example, suppose I say to you, close your eyes and imagine this:

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Krulwich Wonders...
7:45 am
Tue July 17, 2012

Five Men Agree To Stand Directly Under An Exploding Nuclear Bomb

Atom Central/YouTube

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 11:23 am

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Krulwich Wonders...
9:52 am
Wed February 8, 2012

'Rasputin Was My Neighbor' And Other True Tales Of Time Travel

Grigory Yefimovich Rasputin (1871 - 1916).
Wikimedia Commons

He was old, but not ancient, the man next to us at the delicatessen. It was 1973. My then girlfriend (now wife) and I had ordered dinner and this old guy, sitting by himself, seemed lonely, so we got talking and he told us how he had grown up in St. Petersburg, Russia, and that when he was a boy, his next-door neighbor was a famous man, a really famous man.

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