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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1:24pm

Mon August 27, 2012
Krulwich Wonders...

Neil Armstrong Comes Home

Timothy Hughes Rare & Early Newspapers

About 10,000 people live in Wapakoneta, Ohio — half that in the 1960s. In 1969, the town wanted to honor the most famous Wapakonetan (so far), the first man to step on the moon, Neil Armstrong. So they had a parade. Here's the front page of the paper that day.

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8:08am

Sat August 11, 2012
Krulwich Wonders...

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

Originally published on Sat August 11, 2012 3:06 pm

Vimeo

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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11:40am

Fri August 10, 2012
Krulwich Wonders...

Giant Crumpled Paper Drops From The Sky, Lands On Hill In New Zealand

Originally published on Fri August 10, 2012 4:04 pm

Gibbs Farm

You are standing in a park in New Zealand. You look up at the top of a hill, and there, balanced on the ground, looking like it might catch a breeze and blow away, is a gigantic, rumpled piece of paper.

Except ... one side of it, the underside, is ... not there. You can see the sky, clouds, birds where there should be paper, so what is this?

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11:22am

Wed August 8, 2012
Krulwich Wonders...

Discussing The Mars Landing With My 137-Year-Old Grandfather

Originally published on Wed August 8, 2012 12:23 pm

Percival Lowell's drawings of "canals" on Mars.
Universal History Archive Getty Images

Yes, it was an amazing landing, an engineering triumph, a 150-million-mile slam dunk, spectacular in every way, except ... I think my grandpa would be disappointed. I'm not sure of this, since he died 50 years ago, but I have a hunch.

It starts with a handwritten letter he wrote back in 1907. He was a travelling salesman. He sold men's hats, and his job was to visit retailers all over the country. "One evening," he wrote, "train riding between Chicago and Kansas City or St. Louis, sitting the club car, I read a magazine, The Century..."

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11:57am

Tue August 7, 2012
Krulwich Wonders...

The Worst Way To Stay Alive Forever

Robert Krulwich NPR

Some say it will happen soon.

Critics say it will take a long, long, time.

Many neuroscientists and philosophers think it ain't gonna happen, ever.

We're talking about building a machine that functions as the equivalent, or maybe as superior to, a human mind.

A synthetic brain doesn't have to be the exact equivalent of a human brain, but there are humans, the brilliant inventor Ray Kurzweil in particular, who hope one day to dump their minds into such a machine, boot up and go on living, disembodied, but mentally intact, forever.

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1:54pm

Wed August 1, 2012
Krulwich Wonders...

Are Butterflies Two Different Animals in One? The Death And Resurrection Theory

Originally published on Thu August 2, 2012 11:29 am

Robert Krulwich NPR

Updated Aug. 2, 2012: We have added an update to this post, which you can find below the original. Click here to read it.

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10:56am

Mon July 30, 2012
Krulwich Wonders...

Embarrassed By Your Olympic Javelin: Did Cavemen Do It Better?

Originally published on Mon July 30, 2012 1:23 pm

Ian Walton Getty Images

Stronger, faster, fiercer, finer. That's what the Olympics promise us — higher performance, new world records. But not if you throw things.

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6:24am

Sat July 28, 2012
Krulwich Wonders...

Weekend Special: The Miracle Of The Felt-Tipped Pen

BMJ Case Reports

I guess things get swallowed all the time, but this tale (from a hospital case study in Devon, in Britain) tells us something extraordinary about felt-tip pens. (If you look at this woman's stomach, there's a pen in there near the top.)

It's called "An incidental finding of a gastric foreign body 25 years after ingestion," by Oliver Richard Waters, Tawfique Daneshmend, Tarek Shirazi, in BMJ Case Reports from 2011.

Here's the full report:

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12:10pm

Tue July 24, 2012
Krulwich Wonders...

Which Is Bigger: A Human Brain Or The Universe?

Originally published on Tue July 24, 2012 1:46 pm

Robert Krulwich NPR

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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6:39am

Sat July 21, 2012
Krulwich Wonders...

Weekend Special: Kazakh Gopher Ignores Nearby Rockets, Inspects Camera Instead

Originally published on Sat July 21, 2012 9:10 am

YouTube

How he got to live there, I don't know. For one thing he's a gopher, not a cosmonaut or a rocket engineer, just an ordinary Kazhakh rodent who dug himself a hole. The hole, however, is smack in the middle of a rocket launching facility, one of the most active spaceports in the world, called the Cosmodrome.

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