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...
11:34 am
Wed August 28, 2013

How To Disappear When Someone's Spying On You

Courtesy of Adam Harvey

Originally published on Wed August 28, 2013 5:32 pm

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Krulwich Wonders...
11:40 am
Fri August 23, 2013

Can Worms Create Their Own Imaginary Oceans? Can Oysters?

D.P. Wilson/FLPA Science Source

Originally published on Fri August 23, 2013 2:35 pm

When you see them on the beach, spinach-like plops of green sprawled on the sand, you'd never guess their teeny nervous systems are imprinted with beach-ness. They are the ultimate Beach Boys. For them it's always summer.

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Krulwich Wonders...
9:36 am
Thu August 22, 2013

Human Made From Paper Eats Pepperoni Pizza — And Lives!

Courtesy of Kelli Anderson

Originally published on Thu August 22, 2013 1:03 pm

Remember those frog transparencies from biology class? The ones in the textbook where you could lay the circulatory system on top of the digestive system on top of the skeleton system? Here's that same idea, updated and gently presented for kids, from a company called Tinybop. This time, the layers are cut from colored paper, exquisitely designed by Kelli Anderson. And this time (unlike that sadly frozen frog) it moves! Watch it eat a pizza slice ...

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Krulwich Wonders...
12:50 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

'Why This Compulsion To Run Long Distances?' A Runner's Beautiful Confession

From Racing the Antelope

Biologist Bernd Heinrich was in Zimbabwe, in the field, eyes down, looking for beetles, when for no particular reason he looked up and saw ... well, at first he wasn't sure what it was, so he stepped closer, leaned in, and there, painted on the underside of large protruding rock, were five human figures "running in one direction, from left to right across the rock face." They weren't very detailed, just "small, sticklike human figures in clear running stride" painted by a Bushman, two, maybe three thousand years ago.

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Krulwich Wonders...
9:00 am
Mon August 19, 2013

How One Plus One Became Everything: A Puzzle of Life

Courtesy of Paolo Ceric

It's one of life's great mysteries ...

Four billion years ago, or thereabouts, organic chemicals in the sea somehow spun themselves into little homes, with insides and outsides. We call them cells.

They did this in different ways, but always keeping their insides in, protected from the outside world ...

... surrounded by walls or skins of different types ...

... but letting in essentials, nutrients. Some even learned to eat sunshine, capturing energy ...

... which gave them a pulse of their own ...

... so they could move ...

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Krulwich Wonders...
10:29 am
Wed August 14, 2013

Is There A Giant Life Form Lurking In Our Solar System? Possibly, Say Scientists

Robert Krulwich NPR

What if — just maybe — we find extra-terrestrial life in the oceans of Europa, a little moon circling Jupiter? If we do, says writer Caspar Henderson, don't expect that oceanic alien to be very big. Or very scary. Or even very visible. Nothing like this ...

The "top predator" on Europa, Henderson reports, is likely to be "a fearsome creature with the mass of one gram." That's three one-hundredths of an ounce.

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Krulwich Wonders...
11:00 am
Mon August 12, 2013

This Pulsing Earth

John Nelson IDV Solutions

It's breathing, he thought. "All of a sudden I see a thing with a heartbeat."

John Nelson is a designer, well known for tracing complex weather patterns or cultural information on maps, so considering what he usually does, this was easy. NASA's Visible Earth team publishes pictures of our planet every month of the year, so John thought, why not stitch them together, and see what the seasons look like from outer space?

So he stitched, and then looked.

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Krulwich Wonders...
11:20 am
Fri August 9, 2013

Mosquito Exclusive! Yes, They Bite, But Half The Time They Miss

Krulwich Wonders...
6:58 am
Thu August 8, 2013

Watch Me Do Something Impossible In Three Totally Easy Steps

Robert Krulwich NPR

Originally published on Fri August 9, 2013 6:19 pm

Here's what the Swedish artist Oscar Reutersvard did. In 1934, he got himself a pen and paper and drew four cubes, like this.

Then he drew some more, like this.

And, then — and this is where he got mischievous — he drew one more set, like this.

He called this final version "Impossible Triangle of Opus 1 No. 293aa." I don't know what the "293aa" is about, but he was right about "impossible." An arrangement like this cannot take place in the physical universe as we know it.

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Krulwich Wonders...
10:33 am
Tue August 6, 2013

The Subtle Mysteries Of Dinosaur Sex

Robert Krulwich NPR

They dominated our planet for 130 million years. You can't do that without having babies, and to have babies, dinosaurs had to have sex. The mystery is — and this is still very much a mystery — we don't really know how they did it.

The key problems being:

First, dinosaur ladies and dinosaur gentlemen were roughly the same size. No big/little asymmetry as with spiders. With spiders, the little fellow mounts the big lady. There are no body-crushing weight issues.

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Krulwich Wonders...
9:55 am
Fri August 2, 2013

Why Dentists Should Fear Snails

Robert Krulwich NPR

Originally published on Mon August 5, 2013 3:30 pm

She was 34, on a trip to Europe, got sick from a flu or maybe it was a virus, had to lie down and stay in bed — for months and months. A friend brought her a snail. You might enjoy its company, she was told.

"Why, I wondered, would I enjoy a snail?," Elisabeth Tova Bailey asks in her book The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating. "What on earth would I do with it?"

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Krulwich Wonders...
12:28 pm
Tue July 30, 2013

Mysterious Dancing Lights In Afghanistan

Courtesy of Michael Yon

This isn't a painting. It's not from a movie. It's not a strange astronomical event. This is real — what you can see when certain helicopters in Afghanistan touch down on sandy ground, raising dust, causing mysterious arcs of light to loop and dance through the air.

This doesn't always happen. "The halos usually disappear as the rotors change pitch," wrote war photographer Michael Yon. "On some nights, on this very same landing zone, no halos form." How come?

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Krulwich Wonders...
11:35 am
Mon July 29, 2013

What It's Like To Drop 150,000 Feet Straight Down

YouTube

Originally published on Mon July 29, 2013 12:55 pm

If I say "meet me 28 miles from here," that doesn't seem very far, right? You could take a taxi, a bus; if pushed you might even make it on a bike.

But what if the 28 miles is not on a road or a highway, but straight up, 150,000 feet — that's high. So high, we're out of the life zone. Up in the silence.

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Krulwich Wonders...
10:55 am
Fri July 26, 2013

Hot People And Cold Cars; Cold People And Hot Cars

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri July 26, 2013 1:26 pm

It's high summer, yes, but blink and soon it will be fall, and trees will turn red, brown, beige, yellow, pale green and gold. But not cars. Cars may be making the Earth warmer, but their colors, I notice, have turned wintry.

Take a look at this chart, put together by DuPont. It's their 2012 Automotive Global Color Popularity Report for the planet.

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Krulwich Wonders...
10:48 am
Thu July 25, 2013

Look What You've Done, North America!

Robert Krulwich NPR

Originally published on Mon August 5, 2013 3:25 pm

This is the story of two continents doing battle, North America versus South America. It is also a biological mystery.

For a very long time, North America and South America were separate land masses. The Pacific Ocean slipped between them, flowing into the Caribbean. The Isthmus of Panama was there, but it was underwater. The two continents didn't touch.

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