NPR: 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.



Tue May 10, 2011
Planet Money

The Island That Ran Out Of Money

Originally published on Mon May 23, 2011 2:42 pm


During the financial crisis, only one Western country experienced a true collapse of its banking system: Iceland.

Things got so bad that the country actually ran out of foreign currency. Even today, years later, foreign money is still scarce, and the government controls how much anyone can get.

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Tue April 26, 2011
Planet Money

U.S. Home Prices, Sung As Opera

Originally published on Wed October 17, 2012 12:16 pm

Jess Jiang Case-Shiller home price index
  • A Decade of U.S. Home Prices
  • A Decade of Miami Home Prices
  • A Decade of Dallas Home Prices
  • A Decade of U.S. Home Prices: (With Words)

The Case-Shiller home price index is a powerful way to look at the story of housing in America. You can see the boom and bust all in one simple graph.

But when we go on the radio to talk about home prices, a graph isn't much good to us — nobody can see it.

So we converted the Case-Shiller graph into musical notes.

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Thu April 21, 2011
Planet Money

Why We Left The Gold Standard

Gold is up. The dollar is down. People are worried about the value of paper money.

There was a time, of course, when paper money was backed by gold — the era of the gold standard. The story of why that era came to an end includes a nervous breakdown, a global panic, and a presidential adviser who was an expert on cows and chickens.

The gold standard was a promise. If you had a dollar, you could take it to the government any time you want, and trade it in for a fixed amount of gold. In the U.S. year after year, $20.67 got you an ounce of gold.

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Fri April 15, 2011
Planet Money

One Voter Tries To Decide Whether To Pay For Bankers' Mistakes

Last weekend, the people of Iceland went to the polls to make a big decision: Should they pay for the mistakes of a bank that failed in the financial crisis?

It was called Landsbanki. During the boom, its balance sheet became larger than Iceland's entire economy. Its high-interest savings accounts attracted hundreds of thousands of people from the U.K. and the Netherlands.

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