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.

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4:01pm

Fri August 23, 2013
Planet Money

Cash, Cows And The Rise Of Nerd Philanthropy

Originally published on Fri August 23, 2013 8:12 pm

A family in western Kenya received this cow as part of a Heifer International program.
NPR

For more of our reporting on this story, please see our recent column in the New York Times Magazine, and the latest episode of This American Life.

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2:24am

Fri August 23, 2013
Planet Money

The Charity That Just Gives Money To Poor People

Originally published on Fri August 23, 2013 12:41 pm

Bernard Omondi got $1,000 from GiveDirectly.
Jacob Goldstein NPR

For more of our reporting on this story, please see our recent column in the New York Times Magazine, and the latest episode of This American Life.

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9:03pm

Thu July 4, 2013
Planet Money

Why Doesn't Everybody Buy Cheap, Generic Headache Medicine?

Originally published on Fri July 5, 2013 8:03 pm

Same pills. Lower price.
Paul Sancya AP

Why does anyone buy Bayer aspirin — or Tylenol, or Advil — when, almost always, there's a bottle of cheaper generic pills, with the same active ingredient, sitting right next to the brand-name pills?

Matthew Gentzkow, an economist at the University of Chicago's Booth school, recently tried to answer this question. Along with a few colleagues, Gentzkow set out to test a hypothesis: Maybe people buy the brand-name pills because they just don't know that the generic version is basically the same thing.

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3:33am

Fri June 28, 2013
Planet Money

Economists Have A One-Page Solution To Climate Change

Originally published on Fri June 28, 2013 9:45 am

CX Matiash AP

Climate change seems like this complicated problem with a million pieces. But Henry Jacoby, an economist at MIT's business school, says there's really just one thing you need to do to solve the problem: Tax carbon emissions.

"If you let the economists write the legislation," Jacoby says, "it could be quite simple." He says he could fit the whole bill on one page.

Basically, Jacoby would tax fossil fuels in proportion to the amount of carbon they release. That would make coal, oil and natural gas more expensive. That's it; that's the whole plan.

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2:03am

Thu June 20, 2013
Planet Money

A Surprising Barrier To Clean Water: Human Nature

Originally published on Mon June 24, 2013 9:38 am

Rodan Gatia gets water from a spring. A chlorine dispenser is behind her.
Jacob Goldstein NPR

In many parts of the developing world, drinking a glass of water can be deadly — especially for young children, who can die of diarrheal diseases contracted from dirty water.

So getting clean water to people in the developing world has been a top priority for aid groups for a long time. But it's been a surprisingly hard problem to solve.

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