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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Medical Treatments
5:55 am
Fri July 24, 2015

Doctors Plan Database On Cancer Drugs, Showing Effectiveness And Cost

Originally published on Fri July 24, 2015 9:08 pm

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Now we have the story of information you get from your doctor as well as information you do not.

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Planet Money
4:31 pm
Thu July 9, 2015

Greece's Debt Crisis Exposes Its Hidden Financial Plumbing

Originally published on Thu July 9, 2015 6:26 pm

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Planet Money
5:23 pm
Sun May 3, 2015

Casinos Trading Slot Machines For Games Requiring Skill

Originally published on Sun May 3, 2015 6:20 pm

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Planet Money
4:23 pm
Wed April 29, 2015

Casinos Switch Out Slot Machines For Games Of Skill

Originally published on Wed April 29, 2015 8:17 pm

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Planet Money
5:06 pm
Thu April 23, 2015

'We Built A Robot That Types': The Man Behind Computerized Stock Trading

Originally published on Thu April 23, 2015 7:03 pm

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Planet Money
5:03 am
Thu April 9, 2015

CEO Describes What It's Like When Investors Bet Against You

Originally published on Thu April 9, 2015 12:29 pm

The online furniture company Wayfair is now one of the most shorted stocks. Our Planet Money team talks to its CEO about what it's like to be running a company when some investors are betting on your fall.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Planet Money
4:39 pm
Wed April 1, 2015

On April Fools' Day, Planet Money Tries Out Economics Jokes

Originally published on Wed April 1, 2015 8:00 pm

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Planet Money
5:36 am
Thu February 26, 2015

Greek Finance Minister Gets A Chance To Fix Beleaguered Economy

Originally published on Thu February 26, 2015 7:52 am

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Planet Money
5:06 pm
Fri February 20, 2015

Bakers And The Birth Of The Minimum Wage

Originally published on Fri February 20, 2015 10:43 pm

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On January 1, 20 states raise their minimum wage and several states have additional increases planned in the coming months. Yesterday, we learned that Walmart will raise its base pay to $9 an hour this April.

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Planet Money
6:16 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

The Spicy History Of Short Selling Stocks

Originally published on Fri January 30, 2015 10:07 am

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Planet Money
6:54 am
Mon November 24, 2014

Experts Suggest OPEC's Power Over Oil Prices Is Waning

Originally published on Mon November 24, 2014 1:02 pm

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Planet Money
3:41 pm
Thu October 9, 2014

How College Students Battled Textbook Publishers To A Draw, In 3 Graphs

Quoctrung Bui/NPR

Originally published on Tue October 14, 2014 1:18 pm

College textbooks are expensive. You probably already know this. A new biology or economics book can cost $300.

And prices have been soaring, doubling over the past decade, growing faster than the price of housing, cars, even health care.

But, surprisingly, the amount students actually spend on textbooks has not been rising. In fact, the best data we could find on this shows students have been spending a bit less over time.

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Business
7:02 am
Fri August 1, 2014

Everyone Goes To The Store To Get Milk. So Why's It Way In The Back?

Originally published on Fri August 1, 2014 7:14 am

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Planet Money
5:12 am
Thu June 12, 2014

Volatility Index Indicates Wall Street Is Bored

Originally published on Thu June 12, 2014 9:40 am

An economic indicator commonly called the VIX, volatility index, is also known as the fear index. Whatever you call it, the index is hitting lows not seen since before the financial crisis.

Planet Money
5:05 am
Thu May 22, 2014

On The Internet, A Penny Is Nothing To Sneeze At

Originally published on Thu May 22, 2014 9:18 am

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Economy
4:44 pm
Fri May 2, 2014

The History Of Light, In 6 Minutes And 47 Seconds

Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 11:57 am

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And now, 4,000 years of economic growth in seven minutes. This story comes, of course, from our Planet Money team. David Kestenbaum and Jacob Goldstein bring us the history of light and how the world came what it is today.

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Health Care
4:37 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

How One State Convinced Its 'Young Invincibles' To Get Health Insurance

A 2008 ad trying to convince uninsured Massachusetts residents to get signed up for health insurance.
Sawyer Miller Advertising

Originally published on Fri April 25, 2014 12:45 pm

Buying insurance doesn't always feel like it makes economic sense, especially for young healthy people. So why are they still willing to pay?

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Planet Money
4:59 am
Fri April 4, 2014

New Web Addresses Provide Alternatives To Crowded Domains

Originally published on Fri April 4, 2014 8:22 am

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On a Friday it's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep.

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Planet Money
4:51 am
Fri January 17, 2014

The Birth Of The Minimum Wage In America

Franklin D. Roosevelt Libarary

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 4:46 pm

In 1895, legislators in New York state decided to improve working conditions in what at the time could be a deadly profession: baking bread.

"Bakeries are actually extremely dangerous places to work," says Eric Rauchway, a historian at the University of California, Davis. "Because flour is such a fine particulate, if it gets to hang in the air it can catch fire and the whole room can go up in a sheet of flame."

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Planet Money
12:00 pm
Thu January 2, 2014

A Bet, Five Metals And The Future Of The Planet

James Cridland Flickr

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 11:24 am

This famous bet — between a biologist and an economist — was over population growth. It started three decades ago, but it helped set the tone for environmental debates that are still happening today.

The biologist at the heart of this bet was Paul Ehrlich at Stanford. He wrote a best-selling book in 1968 called The Population Bomb. It was so popular he appeared on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.

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Planet Money
2:44 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

We Found This 20-Year-Old T-Shirt In Kenya. The Internet Found The Original Owner

Tshirt
Quoctrung Bui

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 12:46 am

We recently published a story about how used clothes that get donated in the U.S. often wind up for sale in markets in Africa. As part of the story, we published some photos of used T-shirts we found in a couple of markets in Kenya.

One shirt in particular caught our eye:

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Planet Money
3:35 am
Fri November 22, 2013

A Bitcoin Insider On Crime, Congress And Satoshi Nakamoto

This is not a bitcoin.
eagleapex's posterous Flickr

Originally published on Fri November 22, 2013 11:48 am

For more on what Bitcoin is and how it works, see our story "What Is Bitcoin?"

Gavin Andresen is chief scientist at the Bitcoin Foundation. I first talked with him about Bitcoin, the virtual currency, back in 2011. I checked back in with him this week, because so much has been going on with Bitcoin lately.

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Planet Money
3:06 am
Fri November 15, 2013

What's A Bubble?

Robert Shiller and Eugene Fama shared this year's Nobel Memorial Prize.
AP

Originally published on Sun November 17, 2013 1:58 pm

Robert Shiller was surprised when he got the call telling him he'd won the Nobel Memorial Prize in economics — surprised that he'd won (of course), but also surprised that he was sharing the award with Eugene Fama.

"He and I seem to have very different views," Shiller told me. "It's like we're different religions."

In particular, they have very different views about economic bubbles.

"The word 'bubble' drives me nuts, frankly," Fama told me.

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Planet Money
3:29 am
Fri October 25, 2013

What Happens When You Just Give Money To Poor People?

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

Originally published on Fri October 25, 2013 10:34 am

For more of our reporting on this story, please see our work in The New York Times Magazine and on This American Life.

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Planet Money
3:26 am
Fri October 18, 2013

I Lent $999.78 To The Federal Government*

NPR

Originally published on Fri October 18, 2013 1:29 pm

Earlier this week, I bought a Treasury bill.

Everybody calls Treasury bills T-bills, and they work like this: The government promises to pay holders of T-bills a specific amount on a specific day in the near future. For the T-bill I bought, the government promised to pay $1,000 on Oct. 31.

I bought the T-bill on Tuesday, before Congress had made the debt-ceiling deal, so it was unclear whether I would get paid back on time.

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Planet Money
3:00 am
Thu October 10, 2013

What A U.S. Default Would Mean For Pensions, China And Social Security

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu October 10, 2013 12:38 pm

What would happen if Congress doesn't raise the debt ceiling and the U.S. defaults on its debt later this month? The broad economic implications are unpredictable, but a default could cause huge trouble for the global economy.

But whatever happens to the global economy, one thing is clear: People all over the world who have loaned the U.S. government money won't get paid on time.

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Planet Money
3:36 am
Mon September 30, 2013

One Key Thing No One Knows About Obamacare

Getty Images

Originally published on Mon September 30, 2013 7:44 am

Tuesday is a big day for Obamacare. The online marketplaces where people can shop for health insurance are supposed to open for business.

No one really knows who is going to sign up — not the Obama administration, not the insurance industry, not the president's critics. Yet the success of the law hangs on this question: Will the right mix of people sign up? In particular, will healthy people buy health insurance?

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Planet Money
4:55 pm
Fri August 23, 2013

Cash, Cows And The Rise Of Nerd Philanthropy

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

Originally published on Fri August 23, 2013 9:12 pm

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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Planet Money
3:24 am
Fri August 23, 2013

The Charity That Just Gives Money To Poor People

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

Originally published on Fri August 23, 2013 1:41 pm

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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Planet Money
10:03 pm
Thu July 4, 2013

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

Same pills. Lower price.
Paul Sancya AP

Originally published on Fri July 5, 2013 9:03 pm

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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