David Kestenbaum

David Kestenbaum is a correspondent for NPR, covering science, energy issues and, most recently, the global economy for NPR's multimedia project Planet Money. David has been a science correspondent for NPR since 1999. He came to journalism the usual way — by getting a Ph.D. in physics first.

In his years at NPR, David has covered science's discoveries and its darker side, including the Northeast blackout, the anthrax attacks and the collapse of the New Orleans levees. He has also reported on energy issues, particularly nuclear and climate change.

David has won awards from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Physical Society and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

David worked briefly on the show This American Life, and set up a radio journalism program in Cambodia on a Fulbright fellowship. He also teaches a journalism class at Johns Hopkins University.

David holds a bachelor's of science degree in physics from Yale University and a doctorate in physics from Harvard University.

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7:47pm

Thu December 5, 2013
Economy

Meet The Humble Container That Moves The Global Economy

Originally published on Fri December 6, 2013 2:49 pm

The container carrying the Planet Money women's T-shirts is loaded onto a ship in Cartagena, Colombia.
Eric Helton for NPR

NPR's Planet Money team is manufacturing its own T-shirt. After the women's shirt was assembled in Colombia, they voyaged by container ship to Miami. The container, a big standardized box that moves easily from truck to ship to train, is the unsung hero of the global economy. It was invented in the 1950s and dramatically reduced shipping costs, ushering in a new era vastly different than the world retired stevedores remember.

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3:00am

Fri November 22, 2013
Planet Money

A Bitcoin Insider On Crime, Congress And Satoshi Nakamoto

Originally published on Fri November 22, 2013 11:48 am

This is not a bitcoin.
eagleapex's posterous Flickr

For more on what Bitcoin is and how it works, see our story "What Is Bitcoin?"

Gavin Andresen is chief scientist at the Bitcoin Foundation. I first talked with him about Bitcoin, the virtual currency, back in 2011. I checked back in with him this week, because so much has been going on with Bitcoin lately.

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3:06am

Fri November 15, 2013
Planet Money

What's A Bubble?

Originally published on Sun November 17, 2013 1:58 pm

Robert Shiller and Eugene Fama shared this year's Nobel Memorial Prize.
AP

Robert Shiller was surprised when he got the call telling him he'd won the Nobel Memorial Prize in economics — surprised that he'd won (of course), but also surprised that he was sharing the award with Eugene Fama.

"He and I seem to have very different views," Shiller told me. "It's like we're different religions."

In particular, they have very different views about economic bubbles.

"The word 'bubble' drives me nuts, frankly," Fama told me.

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3:29am

Fri October 25, 2013
Planet Money

What Happens When You Just Give Money To Poor People?

Originally published on Fri October 25, 2013 10:34 am

Bernard Omondi got $1,000 from GiveDirectly.
Jacob Goldstein NPR

For more of our reporting on this story, please see our work in The New York Times Magazine and on This American Life.

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3:26am

Fri October 18, 2013
Planet Money

I Lent $999.78 To The Federal Government*

Originally published on Fri October 18, 2013 1:29 pm

NPR

Earlier this week, I bought a Treasury bill.

Everybody calls Treasury bills T-bills, and they work like this: The government promises to pay holders of T-bills a specific amount on a specific day in the near future. For the T-bill I bought, the government promised to pay $1,000 on Oct. 31.

I bought the T-bill on Tuesday, before Congress had made the debt-ceiling deal, so it was unclear whether I would get paid back on time.

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3:00am

Thu October 10, 2013
Planet Money

What A U.S. Default Would Mean For Pensions, China And Social Security

Originally published on Thu October 10, 2013 12:38 pm

iStockphoto.com

What would happen if Congress doesn't raise the debt ceiling and the U.S. defaults on its debt later this month? The broad economic implications are unpredictable, but a default could cause huge trouble for the global economy.

But whatever happens to the global economy, one thing is clear: People all over the world who have loaned the U.S. government money won't get paid on time.

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2:42pm

Tue October 8, 2013
The Two-Way

An Aerogramme From Professor Higgs, Nobel Winner

Originally published on Tue October 8, 2013 6:02 pm

Letter from Peter Higgs
David Kestenbaum NPR

Well, it's happened. British scientist Peter Higgs has won a Nobel Prize for proposing the Higgs boson particle as part of a mechanism that explains how things in the universe came to have mass.

Higgs seems to be lying low today so far — a colleague told The New York Times that Higgs had "gone off by himself for a few days without saying where" and that a reporter seeking an interview recently had been "sent away with a flea in his ear."

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3:36am

Mon September 30, 2013
Planet Money

One Key Thing No One Knows About Obamacare

Originally published on Mon September 30, 2013 7:44 am

Getty Images

Tuesday is a big day for Obamacare. The online marketplaces where people can shop for health insurance are supposed to open for business.

No one really knows who is going to sign up — not the Obama administration, not the insurance industry, not the president's critics. Yet the success of the law hangs on this question: Will the right mix of people sign up? In particular, will healthy people buy health insurance?

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3:21am

Mon September 2, 2013
Planet Money

Ecuador To World: Pay Up To Save The Rainforest. World To Ecuador: Meh.

Originally published on Mon September 2, 2013 7:04 pm

An aerial view of the Yasuni National Park, in Ecuador's northeastern jungle.
Dolores Ochoa AP

The government of Ecuador has abandoned a plan that would have kept part of the Amazonian rainforest off limits to oil drilling. The initiative was an unusual one: Ecuador was promising to keep the oil in the ground, but it wanted to be paid for doing so.

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5:01pm

Fri August 23, 2013
Planet Money

Cash, Cows And The Rise Of Nerd Philanthropy

Originally published on Fri August 23, 2013 9:12 pm

A family in western Kenya received this cow as part of a Heifer International program.
NPR

For more of our reporting on this story, please see our recent column in the New York Times Magazine, and the latest episode of This American Life.

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