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...
2:26 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

Big Fish Stories Getting Littler

Courtesy of Monroe County Public Library

They came, they fished, then snap! They posed. Right in front of their Big Catch — and thereby hangs a tale.

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Krulwich Wonders...
7:02 am
Tue February 4, 2014

Even Dead, Really Nasty Pets Are Still ... Um ... Trouble

 

Originally published on Tue February 4, 2014 10:36 am

The Inmans had a parrot. Grump (that was his name) was horrible, angry, scheming and nasty. But he was their parrot so they couldn't shoot him. Instead he lived in their house, soiled their mail, stole their fried chicken and, every so often, bit. Then, finally, he died.

Sort of.

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Krulwich Wonders...
7:46 am
Mon February 3, 2014

Can It Be? Pigeons, Geese And White-Tailed Deer Were Once Rare

Robert Krulwich NPR

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 3:47 pm

Go back 150 years and ask yourself, what was there a lot of?

We all know the answer ...

There were lots of buffalo, lots of passenger pigeons, lots of oysters. And then, poof! Hardly any. Or none ...

OK, let's flip the question: What were there precious few of 150 years ago, in a couple of cases almost to the point of extinction? The answer — believe it or not — is white-tailed deer, Canada geese and, arguably, ordinary pigeons.

I'm not kidding.

White Tailed Deer

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Krulwich Wonders...
7:07 am
Fri January 31, 2014

A Hunk Of Planet Dissolves Before Our Eyes

Krulwich Wonders...
7:07 am
Thu January 30, 2014

The Starling That Dared To Be Different

Dennis Hlynsky Vimeo

Originally published on Thu January 30, 2014 4:17 pm

You've seen them. We've all seen them.

Hundreds of starlings are sitting side by side by side — up on a power line yakking, preening — when all of a sudden, boom! Up they go, all of them. What happened? A sudden noise? A falcon in the neighborhood? Whatever it was, all the birds know. All the birds go. Starlings find safety in numbers. They like sameness. Exceptional starlings, I imagine, get eaten.

Well, that's what I used to think. Then, today, I saw my first unlike-all-the others starling. At least I think I did.

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Krulwich Wonders...
9:14 am
Tue January 21, 2014

Treat Yourself To A 'Huh?'

Robert Krulwich NPR

You drop a ball. You drop a key. You drop a piece of lead. They each slip from your hand and tumble to the ground. But you have an orderly mind (you're a physicist) and, to you, falling things don't seem haphazard — they seem neat. The unruly world has rules, laws. So instead of saying "Bummer!" you say, "Of course! How beautiful! How logical!"

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Krulwich Wonders...
7:07 am
Sat January 18, 2014

A Supersilly Super Bowl 'What If ... ?'

Bad british NFL commentary.
TheExplodingHeads YouTube

We're only a few Sundays shy of the big game, so here's a Super Bowl warm-up video, a "What if ... ?"

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Krulwich Wonders...
12:42 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

Thomas Jefferson Needs A Dead Moose Right Now To Defend America

Robert Krulwich NPR

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 7:51 pm

They were so young, the folks who invented America. James Madison, on July 4, 1776, was 25. James Monroe was 18, Alexander Hamilton, 21, Marquis de Lafayette, 18, Aaron Burr, 20, Betsy Ross, 24, Gilbert Stuart, 20. Ben Franklin, of course, was much older, grander and world famous. But he was the only one.

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Krulwich Wonders...
6:47 am
Tue January 14, 2014

Who's Got A Pregnant Brain?

Robert Krulwich NPR

Originally published on Tue January 14, 2014 10:36 am

Imagine a couple of million years ago, a curious young alien from the planet Zantar — let's call him a grad student — lands on Earth, looks around and asks, "Who's the brainiest critter on this planet? Relative to body size, who's got the biggest brain?"

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Krulwich Wonders...
7:02 am
Sat January 11, 2014

Go Where Raisins Swell Into Grapes, And Lemons Light The Sky

Courtesy of Pierre Javelle & Akiko Ida

Originally published on Sat January 11, 2014 10:42 am

There's a book by the novelist China Mieville that describes two cities plopped one on top of the other. One is large-scale, the other smaller-scale, and while they live in entangled proximity, both cities have the same rule. Each says to its citizens, pay no attention — on pain of punishment — to what the "others" around you are doing. See your own kind. "Unsee" the others.

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Krulwich Wonders...
6:08 am
Thu January 9, 2014

A Rain Forest Begins With Rain, Right? Is This A Trick Question?

MinuteEarth YouTube

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 12:50 pm

Think of a rain forest — rich with trees, covered by clouds, wet all the time.

Then ask yourself, how did this rain forest get started?

I ask, because the answer is so going to surprise you. It's not what you think.

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Krulwich Wonders...
7:27 am
Wed January 8, 2014

Am I Going To Die This Year? A Mathematical Puzzle

Robert Krulwich NPR

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 11:56 am

A few years ago, physicist Brian Skinner asked himself: What are the odds I will die in the next year? He was 25. What got him wondering about this, I have no idea, but, hey, it's something everybody asks. When I can't wedge my dental floss between my two front teeth, I ask it, too. So Brian looked up the answer — there are tables for this kind of thingand what he discovered is interesting. Very interesting. Even mysterious.

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Krulwich Wonders...
3:33 am
Sun January 5, 2014

Oh Say, Can You See? A Musical Salute

Jon Batiste star-spangles our banner.
YouTube

Some things are so familiar, so fixed in our heads, that we stop noticing them. Buckle-your-seat-belt instructions in an airplane, for example. You don't have to listen. You know the drill.

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Krulwich Wonders...
7:33 am
Sat January 4, 2014

Billboards That Drop Angels On Your Head

YouTube

Originally published on Sat January 4, 2014 9:57 pm

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Krulwich Wonders...
6:47 am
Fri January 3, 2014

'You're Invisible, But I'll Eat You Anyway.' Secrets Of Snow-Diving Foxes

Robert Krulwich NPR

Originally published on Fri January 3, 2014 12:57 pm

I'm a fox. It's January. I'm hungry. I want a meal. My food, however, is buried 3 feet down, deep in the snow, hiding. It's alive, in motion, and very small, being a mouse. So how does an above-ground fox catch an underground mouse? Well, the answer is nothing short of astonishing. Here's a fox:

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