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...
10:56 am
Wed July 16, 2014

Neil Whosis? What You Don't Know About The 1969 Moon Landing

Robert Krulwich NPR

Originally published on Sat July 19, 2014 10:29 pm

Forty-five years ago, this week, 123 million of us watched Neil and Buzz step onto the moon. In 1969, we numbered about 200 million, so more than half of America was in the audience that day. Neil Armstrong instantly became a household name, an icon, a hero. And then — and this, I bet, you didn't know — just as quickly, he faded away.

"Whatever Happened to Neil Whosis?" asked the Chicago Tribune in 1974.

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Krulwich Wonders...
9:01 am
Wed July 9, 2014

A Tough Little Droplet Fights To Stick Around

Zach Heller Flickr

Originally published on Wed July 9, 2014 12:58 pm

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Krulwich Wonders...
9:29 am
Wed July 2, 2014

Watch It Swallow An Entire Tree In Seconds

deniscimafinc YouTube

Originally published on Wed July 2, 2014 4:03 am

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Krulwich Wonders...
10:56 am
Thu June 26, 2014

What Not To Serve Buzzards For Lunch, A Glorious Science Experiment

Robert Krulwich NPR

Originally published on Thu June 26, 2014 2:07 pm

OK, I'm doing great science experiments. We've done sex (see previous post). On to lunch!

This is the story of a bird, a puzzle, and a painting. The painting, curiously, helped solve the puzzle, which is: How do vultures find food?

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Krulwich Wonders...
9:26 am
Mon June 16, 2014

Lights, Lights, Lights, Action! A Crazy New Light Projector

A dandypunk Vimeo

Originally published on Mon June 16, 2014 9:25 am

What can you do with a spotlight?

You can light a spot.

But what if you give yourself more options and invent a tool that lets light spill, splash or tighten into a beam as thin as a pencil line — a beam of light that can draw!

Draw what? Oh my God, so many things: a galloping unicorn, a friendly girl, a guy who kicks you in the face, a wormhole, a ball that splashes into a fluid, a cube, a spiral, a rabbit, a squid, a scribble.

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Krulwich Wonders...
9:45 am
Wed June 11, 2014

How We Learned That Frogs Fly

Robert Krulwich NPR

Originally published on Wed June 11, 2014 7:51 am

There are places where frogs could be — but aren't.

And places where frogs could be — and are.

Ninety years ago, scientists were debating the question of animal dispersal. How come there are kangaroos in Australia, and none in southern Africa --which seems, environmentally, very kangaroo-friendly? Certain frogs show up in warm ponds in one part of the world, but warm ponds a thousand miles away have none. Why?

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Krulwich Wonders...
9:16 am
Wed June 4, 2014

How Chocolate Might Save The Planet

Robert Krulwich NPR

Originally published on Wed June 4, 2014 9:11 am

When you unwrap it, break off a piece and stick it in your mouth, it doesn't remind you of the pyramids, a suspension bridge or a skyscraper; but chocolate, says materials scientist Mark Miodownik, "is one of our greatest engineering creations."

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Krulwich Wonders...
12:04 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

Jupiter's Dot And Mine. Why Life Is Unfair

Robert Krulwich NPR

Originally published on Fri May 23, 2014 8:58 am

When I was 9, my dad drew this picture of me. You will notice something on my left cheek — a little brown spot.

That's a mole. The doctor called it "a birthmark." My mom called it "a beauty mark." I was born with it. Having grown up before supermodel Cindy Crawford became famous, I was not familiar with the allure of beauty marks and, anyway, I'm a guy. My mom said it was hardly noticeable. I didn't believe her.

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Krulwich Wonders...
9:55 am
Wed May 21, 2014

So What If It's Ugly? It Just Keeps On Going ...

Courtesy of Rachel Sussman

Originally published on Wed May 21, 2014 4:03 am

Far, far, far away is a great place to be — if you want to stay marvelous. There is a plant, called Welwitschia mirabilis (mirabilis being Latin for marvelous), found only one place on Earth. You can get there, as artist/photographer Rachel Sussman did, by driving through the vast emptiness of the Namibian desert, the Namib Naukluft, in Africa.

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Krulwich Wonders...
10:17 am
Fri May 16, 2014

When Numbers Bleed, Freeze, Starve And Die On A Battlefield: The Dark Poetry Of Data

Roger Viollet Collection Getty Images

Originally published on Fri May 16, 2014 1:43 pm

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Krulwich Wonders...
9:23 am
Thu May 15, 2014

How To Marry The Right Girl: A Mathematical Solution

Robert Krulwich NPR

Originally published on Thu May 15, 2014 11:34 am

Poor Johannes Kepler. One of the greatest astronomers ever, the man who figured out the laws of planetary motion, a genius, scholar and mathematician — in 1611, he needed a wife. The previous Mrs. Kepler had died of Hungarian spotted fever, so, with kids to raise and a household to manage, he decided to line up some candidates — but it wasn't going very well.

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Krulwich Wonders...
11:23 am
Wed May 7, 2014

Draw My Left! No, No, My Other Left! A Hidden Bias In Art History Revealed

Robert Krulwich NPR

Originally published on Wed May 7, 2014 6:48 am

Look at this guy.

He is half-smiley, half-frowny. I drew the mouth carefully to make it equal parts sad and happy.

But when you look at him — take him in whole — would you say he's having a good day or a bad day?

Most people would say: good day. He seems a little more smiley than not.

That's because, says science writer Sam Kean, when we look at somebody, the left side of that person's face is more emotionally powerful and "determines the overall emotional tenor."

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Krulwich Wonders...
11:11 am
Sat April 26, 2014

Come Dance With Me

Urban Dance Camp YouTube

Originally published on Mon April 28, 2014 9:34 am

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Krulwich Wonders...
9:49 am
Fri April 25, 2014

'Don't Touch Me,' Said Canada. 'I Won't!' Said The U.S.A. So They Moved 20 Feet Apart

National Film Board of Canada. Photothèque / Library and Archives Canada

Originally published on Fri April 25, 2014 3:55 pm

The U.S. and Canada may be as lovey-dovey as two neighbors can get, but according to this charming video history by CGP Grey, both countries agreed to tuck themselves a little bit in, 10 feet back for America, 10 feet back for Canada, creating a corridor of open, surveillable, clear space between them.

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Krulwich Wonders...
9:52 am
Tue April 22, 2014

Introducing A Divorce Rate For Birds, And Guess Which Bird Never, Ever Divorces?

Robert Krulwich/NPR

Originally published on Tue April 22, 2014 4:06 pm

There is love. And then there's albatross love.

In his new book, The Thing With Feathers, Noah Strycker says albatrosses have a knack for coupling. "These globe trotters, who mate for life and are incredibly faithful to their partners, just might have the most intense love affairs of any animal on our planet," he writes.

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