At the University of Sydney open day on 26 August 2006
Karl Sven Woytek Sas Konkovitch Matthew Kruszelnicki
|Education||Edmund Rice College, West Wollongong|
|Alma mater||University of Wollongong |
University of New South Wales
University of Sydney
|Occupation||Science journalist, author and broadcaster|
|Known for||Popular science|
|Great Moments in Science|
|Title||The Julius Sumner Miller Fellow, Science Foundation for Physics, University of Sydney|
|Awards||Member of the Order of Australia (2006) |
Ig Nobel Prize (2002)
Australian Father of the Year (2003)
Dr Karl on ABC.net.au
Kruszelnicki (Polish pronunciation: [kruʂɛlˈɲitskʲi]) was born in Helsingborg, Sweden,[when?] to Polish parents, Rina and Ludwick. Kruszelnicki's background was hidden from him for a long time, with his mother having told him that she was Swedish and a Lutheran but she was, in fact, Polish and Jewish. Both his parents were Holocaust survivors. His father Ludwick, a Polish Gentile, was turned in to the Gestapo for smuggling Jews out of Poland and was imprisoned at Sachsenhausen, a concentration camp used mainly for political prisoners. As the end of World War II approached, Ludwick avoided execution by swapping identities with a dead person. Rina escaped the Auschwitz concentration camp when the Nazis ran out of Zyklon B used to gas prisoners. They separately fled to Sweden, where they met, and where Karl was later born.
When Kruszelnicki was two years old, his parents became concerned about the risk of Sweden being overrun by Russia and decided to flee the country. Before boarding a boat bound for America, Karl became ill with fever following a smallpox vaccination. Worried for his health, his parents decided not to board the boat. "Luck has it that the next ship went to Australia, so that is where we ended up. It is amazing how fate can take you in unexpected directions."
On arrival in Australia, the family were tenanted at the migrant camp in Bonegilla, Victoria. They remained here for three years before settling in the city of Wollongong, New South Wales. Kruszelnicki talks of his childhood as a refugee in Wollongong as being difficult, and of desperately trying to fit in. "We weren't particularly liked and I got bullied at school a lot. Anybody who was not an Irish Catholic was considered an outsider." He found an escape in the Wollongong Library and his quest for knowledge began. "I got into science fiction and funny stuff like that. And the librarians looked after me."
Kruszelnicki attended Edmund Rice Christian Brothers College in Wollongong, New South Wales. After high school, he attended the University of Wollongong, completing a Bachelor of Science majoring in physics in 1968. In 1980 Kruszelnicki was awarded a Master of Biomedical Engineering at the University of New South Wales. He completed a Bachelor of Medicine and a Bachelor of Surgery at Sydney University in 1986.
After high school, Kruszelnicki's first job was ditch digger in the Wollongong suburb of Dapto. Other odd jobs between careers included film maker, car mechanic, TV weatherman, and also as roadie for Slim Dusty, Bo Diddley and Chuck Berry. He worked for a time as a taxi driver in Sydney, and on one occasion was beaten unconscious after picking up a passenger trying to escape a group of men.
After graduating from university at age 19, Kruszelnicki took a job as a physicist working for a steel works in his home town of Wollongong. Here he was required to test the strength of steel made for use in Melbourne's West Gate Bridge, which was under construction at the time. He designed a machine to test the steel. When asked to fake the results of his tests, he decided to resign.
In the early 1980s he worked for ophthalmologist Fred Hollows. His Masters of Biomedical Engineering allowed him to design and build a machine to pick up electrical signals off the human retina to diagnose certain eye diseases.
He commenced his degree in medicine at the University of Sydney at the age of 32, graduating in 1986. From here he began work at a number of hospitals around Sydney, including the Children's Hospital in Camperdown. He talks fondly of his time as a children's doctor, however he left this profession after witnessing the first child die from whooping cough in twenty years. This came about, he says, after a television program tried to create controversy by presenting the efficacy of vaccinations with a false balance. This caused a drop in herd immunity, and eventually the death of this child. "That very strongly influenced me to go into the media, because I felt like I could do more good there (convincing people to vaccinate). And as a result, I gave up the best job of my life, which was being a doctor in a kids' hospital, so I could do more good in the community."
Kruszelnicki presented the first series of Quantum (replaced by Catalyst) in 1985. As a science communicator and presenter, he appears on the Seven Network's Weekend Sunrise and on ABC TV. From early 2008 to 2010 he co-hosted a TV series called Sleek Geeks with Adam Spencer.
Journalism, radio and podcasts
Kruszelnicki does a number of weekly radio shows. His hour-long show on ABC radio station Triple J has been going on in one form or another since 1981. This weekly science talkback show, is broadcast on Thursday mornings from 11:00 am to 12:00 and attracts up to 300,000 listeners; it is also available as a podcast.
Kruszelnicki also often helps with other science and education Triple J promotions, such as the Sleek Geek Week roadshow with Adam Spencer and Caroline Pegram. He and Adam Spencer release the Sleek Geeks podcast regularly (about once a week).
For many years, until March 2020, Kruszelnicki appeared on a live weekly late-night link-up on BBC Radio 5 Live's Up All Night, usually with Rhod Sharp (Thursdays 03:00 - 04:00 UK time), answering science questions.
Kruszelnicki writes a regular column for Australian Geographic magazine, called 'Need to Know' which is republished as a blog on the magazine's website. He has also written for the Sydney Morning Herald’s Good Weekend magazine.
In 2015, Kruszelnicki appeared in an Australian Government advertising campaign, for the recently published intergenerational report. He had previously agreed to do the campaign, believing it would be a “non-political, bipartisan, independent report.” After its publication however, he backed away from the campaign, describing it as “flawed”. “How can you possibly have a report that looks at the next 40 years and doesn't mention climate change? It should have acknowledged that climate change is real and we cause it and it will be messy.“
He met his wife Mary in his first year of medical school. They have three children together: Karl, Alice and Lola.
Kruszelnicki is a sufferer of the condition prosopagnosia where he lacks the ability to recognise faces. To help him recognise co-workers he has been known to carry a seating map of familiar office spaces. He puts the cause of his condition down to having an unhappy, lonely childhood, saying that it impeded the development of the part of his brain responsible for remembering faces.
Recognition and awards
He received the Australian Father of the Year award in 2003.
- Kruszelnicki, Karl (1991). Latest great moments in science. Illustrated by Kerrie Lester. Sydney: Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Cite has empty unknown parameters:
- Spacescape, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, (Australia), 1992, ISBN 0-7295-1100-6.
- Absolutely Fabulous Moments in Science, Australian Broadcasting Corporation Enterprises, Sydney, Australia, 1994, ISBN 0-7333-0407-9.
- Sensational Moments in Science, Australian Broadcasting Corporation Enterprises, Sydney, Australia, 1995, ISBN 0-7333-0456-7.
- Pigeon Poo the Universe & Car Paint – and other awesome science moments, HarperCollins Publishers Pty Ltd, Australia, 1996, ISBN 0-7322-5723-9.
- Flying Lasers, Robofish and Cities of Slime – and other brain-bending science moments, HarperCollins Publishers Pty Ltd, Australia, 1997, ISBN 0-7322-5874-X.
- Dr Karl's Collection of Great Australian Facts & Firsts
- 1. Ears, Gears and Gadgets, HarperCollins Publishers Pty Ltd, Australia, 1997, ISBN 0-207-19610-9.
- 2. Forests, Fleece & Prickly Pears, HarperCollins Publishers Pty Ltd, Australia, 1997, ISBN 0-207-19611-7.
- 3. Flight, Food & Thingummygigs, HarperCollins Publishers Pty Ltd, Australia, 1997, ISBN 0-207-19612-5.
- Munching Maggots, Noah's Flood and TV Heart Attacks and other cataclysmic science moments, HarperCollins Publishers Pty Ltd, Australia, 1998, ISBN 0-7322-5858-8.
- Fidgeting Fat, Exploding Meat & Gobbling Whirly Birds – and other delicious science moments - New Moments in science 4, 1999.
- Q&A With Dr. K – Why It Is So. Headless Chickens, Bathroom Queues and Belly Button Blues, HarperCollins Publishers Pty Ltd, Australia, 2001, ISBN 0-7322-5855-3.
- Dr. Karl's Collection of Great Australian Facts & Firsts, HarperCollins Publishers Pty Ltd, Australia, 2002, ISBN 0-207-19860-8.
- Bumbreath, Botox and Bubbles and other Fully Sick Science Moments, HarperCollins Publishers Pty Ltd, Australia, 2003, ISBN 0-7322-6715-3.
- Great Mythconceptions – Cellulite, Camel Humps and Chocolate Zits, HarperCollins Publishers Pty Ltd, Australia, 2004, ISBN 0-7322-8062-1.
- Dis Information and Other Wikkid Myths: More Great Myths In Science, HarperCollins Publishers Pty Ltd, Australia, 2005, ISBN 0-7322-8060-5.
- It Ain't Necessarily So Bro, HarperCollins Publishers Pty Ltd, Australia, 2006, ISBN 0-7322-8061-3.
- Please Explain, HarperCollins Publishers Pty Ltd, Australia, 2007, ISBN 0-7322-8535-6.
- Science Is Golden, HarperCollins Publishers Pty Ltd, Australia 2008 ISBN 978-0-732-28536-4
- Never Mind the Bullocks, Here's the Science, HarperCollins Publishers Pty Ltd, Australia, 2009, ISBN 0-7322-8537-2.
- Dinosaurs Aren't Dead, Pan Macmillan Pty Limited, Australia, 2010 ISBN 978-0-330-42579-7
- Curious and Curiouser, Pan Macmillan Pty Limited, Australia, 2010 ISBN 978-1-742-61170-9
- Brain Food, Pan Macmillan Pty Limited, Australia, 2011 ISBN 978-1-742-61039-9
- 50 Shades of Grey Matter, Pan Macmillan Pty Limited, Australia, 2012 ISBN 978-1-742-61138-9
- Game of Knowns, Pan Macmillan Pty Limited, Australia, 2013 ISBN 978-1-742-61334-5
- Dr Karl's Big Book of Science Stuff and Nonsense, Pan Macmillan Pty Limited, Australia, 2013 ISBN 978-1-742-61368-0
- House of Karls, Pan Macmillan Pty Limited, Australia, 2014 ISBN 978-1-743-51951-6
- Dr Karl's Short Back & Science, Pan Macmillan Pty Limited, Australia, 2015 ISBN 978-1-743-53334-5
- The Doctor, Pan Macmillan Pty Limited, Australia, 2016 ISBN 978-1-743-54742-7
- Karl, The Universe and Everything, Pan Macmillan Pty Limited, Australia, 2017 ISBN 978-1-925-48132-7
- Vital Science, Pan Macmillan Australia Pty Limited, Australia, 2018 ISBN 978-1-760-78122-4
- Journal articles
- Kruszelnicki, Karl (May–June 2014). "Cervical cancer vaccine". Your AG. Inventions. Australian Geographic. 120: 124. Cite has empty unknown parameter:
- Dr Karl Kruszelnicki Transcript, ABC, archived from the original on 20 December 2011, retrieved 14 March 2012
- "Skepticality Episode 71". Skeptic Magazine.
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- "Dr Karl Kruszelnicki" (22 July 1988). Campus Bulletin, University of Newcastle, Australia. Number 5.
- Kate Jones (25 November 2013). "My first job: From ditch-digger to celebrity scientist". The New Daily. Retrieved 20 December 2014.
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- "Dr Karl to receive first Honorary Doctorate". usc.edu.au. University of The Sunshine Coast. Retrieved 4 November 2018.
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- "Dr Karl on triplej (ABC Science)". Retrieved 20 December 2014.
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- "Dr Karl: Need To Know". australiangeographic.com.au. Australian Geographic. Retrieved 5 November 2018.
- "Revenge of the nerds". smh.com.au. Fairfax Media. 31 December 2007. Retrieved 7 November 2018.
- Dr Karl to Run for the Senate on Climate Change. Climatechangecoalition.com.au. Retrieved on 22 October 2011. Archived from the original on 20 October 2010.
- "Dr Karl Kruszelnicki backs away from 'flawed', 'political' Intergenerational Report". abc.net.au. ABC. 14 April 2015. Retrieved 4 November 2018.
- Doreian, Robyn. "What I know about women". dailylife.com.au. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 13 November 2018.
- "Dr Karl on what it's like to live with face blindness". abc.net.au. ABC. Retrieved 12 November 2018.
- "ABC science online wins national Award". Australian Broadcasting Commission. 30 November 2000. Retrieved 2 March 2016.
- "It's an honour: Australia celebrating Australians". itsanhonour.gov.au. Commonwealth of Australia. Retrieved 26 August 2014.
- "Myth-buster Dr Karl makes honours list". Nine News. Nine MSN. Australian Associated Press. 26 January 2006. Archived from the original on 25 September 2012. Retrieved 10 July 2010.
- "It's an honour: Australia celebrating Australians". itsanhonour.gov.au. Commonwealth of Australia. Retrieved 26 August 2014.
For service to the community through promoting greater understanding and knowledge of the application of science to daily living as an author and science commentator on radio and television.
- "Merit Awards". skeptics.com.au/. Australian Skeptics Inc. Skeptic of the Year. Retrieved 26 August 2014.
- "Seven added to national living treasure list". Lauren Farrow. Canberra Times. 5 March 2012. Retrieved 8 March 2012.
- JPL Small-Body Database Browser: 18412 Kruszelnicki (1993 LX)
- Flynn, Hazel (July 2014). "Trusted People 2014". readersdigest.com.au. The Reader's Digest Association, Inc. Archived from the original on 26 August 2014. Retrieved 26 August 2014.
- "Science commentator Dr Karl awarded honorary doctorate". ABC News. 26 February 2016. Retrieved 20 March 2016.
- Ryan, Claudine (20 November 2019). "Dr Karl wins UNESCO prize for turning generations on to science". ABC News. Retrieved 19 November 2019.