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...
9:23 am
Tue December 10, 2013

What Happened On Easter Island — A New (Even Scarier) Scenario

Robert Krulwich NPR

Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 1:39 pm

We all know the story, or think we do.

Let me tell it the old way, then the new way. See which worries you most.

First version: Easter Island is a small 63-square-mile patch of land — more than a thousand miles from the next inhabited spot in the Pacific Ocean. In A.D. 1200 (or thereabouts), a small group of Polynesians — it might have been a single family — made their way there, settled in and began to farm. When they arrived, the place was covered with trees — as many as 16 million of them, some towering 100 feet high.

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Krulwich Wonders...
9:21 am
Fri December 6, 2013

How Important Is A Bee?

Robert Krulwich NPR

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 7:37 am

This is an alarming story, not because it ends badly. It's alarming because it ends well. It shouldn't have, but it did, and biologists (and especially conservationists) now have a puzzle to ponder.

The story begins in central China, in an apple-growing region called Maoxian County, near the city of Chengdu. In the mid-1990s, the bees that regularly showed up there every spring suddenly didn't. Apple farmers, obviously, need bees. Bees dust their way through blossoms, moving from flower to flower, pollinating, which helps produce apples in September.

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Krulwich Wonders...
9:14 am
Tue December 3, 2013

How To Keep The Dust Off Your White Pants With 7 Desk Fans

Copyright Heirs of Rube Goldberg

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 1:53 pm

Once upon a time, you could crack open a radio, a telephone, a lawnmower, even a car, take it apart and figure out how it worked. No more. Pretty much everything we use these days comes with computer chips, which you can't really take apart. (I mean, you can, but all you'll find inside are a bunch of 1's and 0's with no obvious logic.) So car mechanics can snap a new chip into an engine, wait till it whirs and watch the gears come to life, but do they know what's going on in there? For most of us, chips are "black boxes." They work, but we don't know why.

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Krulwich Wonders...
9:24 pm
Sat November 30, 2013

Science Reporter Emily Graslie Reads Her Mail — And It's Not So Nice

YouTube

Originally published on Sat November 30, 2013 4:33 am

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Krulwich Wonders...
12:27 pm
Thu November 28, 2013

On Thanksgiving, Everybody Needs A Friend — And That Means Everybody

Blue_Cutler iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu November 28, 2013 5:08 am

Last December, a website called The Morning News asked me to describe the most important and unimportant events of my year. So I sent them a story that felt like both to me, something slight but at the same time deeply rich. Now that it's Thanksgiving, I'm going to post it here because it's about two girls who want the best for everybody — and that can get complicated.

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Krulwich Wonders...
9:17 am
Tue November 26, 2013

Born Wet, Human Babies Are 75 Percent Water. Then Comes Drying

Robert Krulwich NPR

Originally published on Tue November 26, 2013 7:56 am

Look at this baby.

Lovely, no? Now think of this baby abstractly — as a sack of hundreds of millions of atoms. Here's the atomic formula for a new human being, arranged by elements, according to scientist Neil Shubin.

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Krulwich Wonders...
10:04 am
Thu November 14, 2013

My Wine Won't Stop Crying — A Mystery In A Wineglass

Dan Quinn YouTube

Originally published on Thu November 14, 2013 10:23 am

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Krulwich Wonders...
9:33 am
Fri November 1, 2013

Falling Into The Sky And Other Tales Of Gravity

Robert Krulwich NPR

Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 5:01 am

For most of us, gravity is the tug that pulls us home.

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Krulwich Wonders...
9:43 am
Wed October 30, 2013

Putting On Einstein's Glasses

Vimeo

Originally published on Wed October 30, 2013 7:29 am

Whenever you look at the teeming, rich and oh-so-various world, if you've got the right eyes, if you've got the eyes of a mathematician, you will find patterns — simple, elegant forms hiding in everything you see. Those patterns explain why sugar dissolves in a cup of coffee, why clouds release rain, why a heavy plane can climb into the sky.

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Krulwich Wonders...
10:26 am
Fri October 4, 2013

Comparing Sperm Whales To Sperm: A Swimming Contest

Brad Purnell YouTube

Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 12:40 pm

If you're a big, big whale with a gigantic tail swimming through water, nothing gets in your way, not the water, not the other fish, not nothin'. You are so much bigger than the water molecules around you, you move through the sea the way humans move through the air on a calm day — you just go. Whales, I imagine, don't think much about water.

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Krulwich Wonders...
1:21 pm
Fri September 20, 2013

Doing A Da Vinci — If Only Leonardo Could See This

Leonardo da Vinci wikipaintings.org

Originally published on Fri September 20, 2013 8:41 am

More than 500 years ago, Leonardo da Vinci tried to imagine what it would be like to soar over mountains, to dip, to glide like a bird. He'd sit on Italian hillsides, sketching, imagining, dreaming. In 1502, he drew one of the first ever, looking-down-from-the-sky panoramas of the Earth — in this case a bit of Tuscany, as if seen by a high flying eagle.

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Krulwich Wonders...
10:05 am
Tue September 17, 2013

Always, Always There

An Iraqi civilian walks through the vault of the National Museum in Baghdad, Iraq, on April 12, 2003. Looters opened the museum vault, went on a rampage breaking ancient artifacts stored there by museum authorities before the war started.
Jerome Delay AP

Originally published on Tue September 17, 2013 11:26 am

I'm going to tell two stories here, two very different stories. One's about bad guys hurting good guys that made me think the world is going to hell; the other is about good guys outfoxing bad guys and made me smile — made me think there's hope, always hope. I found them in different books.

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Krulwich Wonders...
11:34 am
Fri September 13, 2013

A Most Delightful Map

Courtesy of Massimo Pietrobon

Originally published on Fri September 13, 2013 11:07 am

Think about this: You wake up in New York City, decide to go for a stroll, head east after breakfast, and a short time later, still on foot, you find yourself in Morocco. Three hundred million years ago, you could have done that! There was no civilization back then, no cities, no countries, no people, but the land was there, so take a look at this map.

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Krulwich Wonders...
2:49 pm
Wed September 11, 2013

When The Dutch Keep Secrets, Everybody Notices. A Google Puzzle

Mishka Henner

Originally published on Wed September 11, 2013 10:48 am

What is this?

When I saw it for the first time, here's what I knew: It's a Google image found on Google Maps, taken by a satellite, plucked and blogged by photographer/sleuth, Mishka Henner. It's a patch of land near a town called Coevorden, in The Netherlands. There's a road on one side, plowed farmland all about, some trees on the lower left and then, weirdly, grey, black, white, golden, green and brown patches crunched together in an almost-rectangle. Those couldn't be natural, I thought.

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Krulwich Wonders...
10:26 am
Tue September 10, 2013

A New Kind Of 'More'

The Glue Society

Originally published on Tue September 10, 2013 2:11 pm

You've heard, maybe, about "Simple Living"? It's what some people do, Gandhi-style, to simplify their lives. They shed possessions. They watch their carbon footprint. They choose to live with less. They have what they need, and that's enough.

What's the opposite of Simple Living? (Everything needs an opposite, right? Read Hegel.) Well, if you want to conjure Simple Living in reverse, it's not gluttony. Anybody can buy too many shoes. No, the opposite of Simple Living should also be a movement with a name, a style — and lots of fans.

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