Karl Kruszelnicki AM is a scientist, who is best known as an author and science commentator on Australian radio and television. He is often referred to as Dr Karl.
He holds degrees in mathematics, biomedical engineering, medicine and surgery. He has also studied astrophysics, computer science, and philosophy. He has worked as a physicist, labourer, roadie for bands, car mechanic, film-maker, hospital scientific officer, biomedical engineer, TV weatherman, taxi driver, and medical doctor. Kruszelnicki is the Julius Sumner Miller Fellow in the Science Foundation for Physics at the School of Physics, University of Sydney.
Kruszelnicki was born in Helsingborg, Sweden to Polish parents. His mother's background was hidden from him for a long time, with his mother having told him that she was Swedish and a Lutheran but was, in fact, Jewish. Both of his parents were Holocaust survivors.
- 1960 to 1964: Secondary School Education at Edmund Rice Christian Brothers College in Wollongong, NSW. Received Commonwealth Scholarship to University.
- 1965 to 1967: Tertiary Education at the Wollongong Campus of the University of New South Wales, reading for a Bachelor of Science in Physics and Mathematics. (B. Sc.).
- 1968 to 1969: Read for a Master of Science (Qualifying) in Astrophysics at the Wollongong Campus of the University of New South Wales. (M. Sc. (Qual.)).
- 1977: Studied as a miscellaneous student in Computer Science at the University of New South Wales.
- 1978: Commenced reading for a Master of Biomedical Engineering at the University of New South Wales (part-time).
- 1979–1980: Full-time student at the University of New South Wales. Received two scholarships – Commonwealth Government Scholarship in 1979 and Lions Fellowship in 1980. Studied under Dr. Peter Gouras in Jan/Feb 1980 at the Columbia University Presbyterian Physician's and Surgeon's Hospital in New York to gain extra knowledge in the field of electroretinography (detecting electrical signals from the human retina). Designed and built an electroretinograph. This device is still in use at the Prince of Wales Hospital, in association with the Retinitis Pigmentosa Foundation. Completed degree of Master of Biomedical Engineering. (M. Biomed. E.).
- 1981 to 1984: Read for degree in Medicine and Surgery at the University of Sydney. Awarded Grafton Elliot Smith Memorial Prize for Anatomy in 1982. Awarded Alexander James Scholarship for Community Medicine in 1984.
- 1982: Elected Member of the Australian Institute of Physics. (M.A.I.P.).
- 1986: Completed Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery. (MB, BS).
Journalism, television and radio
Kruszelnicki wrote and presented the first series of Quantum. He writes a weekly column for The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald newspapers on scientific "mythconceptions". His radio work includes a weekly science talkback show on Triple J which attracts up to 300,000 listeners and is available as a podcast. He often helps with other science and education Triple J promotions, such as the Sleek Geek Week roadshow with Adam Spencer and Caroline Pegram.
In the United Kingdom, he appears on a live weekly late-night link-up on BBC Radio 5 Live's Up All Night, usually with Rhod Sharp (Thursdays 03:00 UK time), answering science questions.
He has had cameo appearances in a number of television series including Pizza (screened on SBS) and Neighbours. In the Neighbours episode, he was confused with the Dr Karl character of that series. From early 2008 onward he co-hosted a TV series of Sleek Geeks with Adam Spencer.
Kruszelnicki fronts the Roads and Traffic Authority microsleep awareness campaign and presents segments on The Weather Channel.
Kruszelnicki was an unsuccessful candidate for the Australian Senate in the 2007 Australian federal election. He was placed number two on the Climate Change Coalition ticket in New South Wales.
Recognition and awards
One of Kruszelnicki's more notable undertakings was his part in a research project on belly button fluff, for which he received an Ig Nobel Prize in 2002. He received the Australian Father of the Year award in 2003. In the 2006 Honours list, he was made a Member of the Order of Australia.
In 2012, Kruszelnicki was named as a National Living Treasure by the National Trust of Australia (NSW).
Main-belt asteroid '18412 Kruszelnicki' has been named after him.
As of mid-2012, Kruszelnicki has written 31 books children’s , along with numerous lecture series (utilising material that often ends up in his books, or vice versa). Some of these lecture series and books have been televised for events such as Science Week, with him supplying voice overs and sometimes appearing in claymation.
- Latest Great Moments in Science, Australian Broadcasting Corporation Enterprises, Sydney, Australia, ISBN 0-7333-0144-4
- 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 – New Moments 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 0-7332-8536-4.
- 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
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