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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1:14pm

Mon October 1, 2012
Krulwich Wonders...

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

Originally published on Mon October 1, 2012 1:32 pm

iStockphoto

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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10:37am

Fri September 28, 2012
Krulwich Wonders...

The Best College Prank Of The 1790s (With Bats, Poop & Grass)

Originally published on Fri September 28, 2012 12:03 pm

Benjamin Arthur for NPR

In yesterday's post, I crowned an Oxford geologist William Buckland as Most Daring Eater Ever. And he was. But I think he deserves one additional, albeit smaller, honor.

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10:37am

Thu September 27, 2012
Krulwich Wonders...

Who Wants To Eat Jellyfish Omelettes? Dolphin Meatballs? Mouse-On-Toast? These Guys

Originally published on Fri September 28, 2012 10:14 am

Aaron Birk for NPR

Foodwise, we live in choosy times, mostly choosing "no thank you."

More and more of us choose not to eat meat or fish or eggs or fatty foods. We don't want anything too sugary, too fried, too raw, too strange. We tiptoe through the grocery as if it's a danger zone, hoping not to be tempted by a glazed doughnut.

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2:05pm

Tue September 25, 2012
Krulwich Wonders...

Trees Come 'From Out Of The Air' Says Nobel Laureate Richard Feynman. Really?

Originally published on Tue September 25, 2012 4:05 pm

iStockphoto.com

Ask one of the greatest scientists of the 20th century a simple question, and his answer makes me go, "What? What did he just say?"

The question was: Where do trees come from?

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6:08am

Sun September 23, 2012
Krulwich Wonders...

Gherkin, Diphthong, Hornswoggle And Kerfuffle: Best Words Ever?

Ted McCagg Questionable Skills

"Gherkin" — I like saying it. It's vaguely Indian sounding. "Kerfuffle." That's just fun, with so many F's packed into three syllables. "Diphthong" is sly because it's hiding a silent H, the H right after the P; it's there, but you wouldn't know it. And "hornswoggle?" Just hearing it, I'm on the deck of a frigate, there are seagulls soaring above, and someone is playing a jig.

One of these four words, the "Final Four" in Ted McCagg's "Best Word Ever" contest, became a champion this week.

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10:45am

Fri September 21, 2012
Krulwich Wonders...

Getting Slower And Slower: How Slow Can You Go?

Originally published on Fri September 21, 2012 11:36 am

Vincent Liota

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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9:44am

Wed September 19, 2012
Krulwich Wonders...

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

Originally published on Wed September 19, 2012 4:34 pm

National Technical Information Service via Alex Wellerstein

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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10:19am

Mon September 17, 2012
Krulwich Wonders...

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

Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 9:53 am

Gilles Chapdelaine NASA & ESA

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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2:01pm

Tue September 11, 2012
Krulwich Wonders...

The Miracle Of The Levitating Slinky

Originally published on Wed September 12, 2012 8:43 am

Veritasium/YouTube

11:58am

Fri September 7, 2012
Krulwich Wonders...

Volcano Shoots Geyser Of Water Up Into Space

Originally published on Tue October 9, 2012 11:53 am

Michael Benson

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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