SCIENCE. POLITICS. STORYTELLING.
Sheril Kirshenbaum is a scientist and author at Michigan State University working to enhance public understanding of science and improve communication between scientists, policymakers and the public. She hosts the award-winning PBS Digital Studios series, Serving Up Science, currently nominated for a 2023 regional Emmy by the The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.
Sheril co-authored Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Our Future with Chris Mooney, chosen by Library Journal as one of the Best Sci-Tech Books of 2009 and named by President Obama's science advisor John Holdren as a top recommended read. She is also the author of The Science of Kissing, which explores the science behind one of humanity's fondest pastimes. Her Substack, Unelected Representative, focuses on scientific decision making in the U.S. Congress.
In 2007, Sheril co-founded Science Debate and served as Executive Director from 2015-2022. Science Debate, now Science on the Ballot, is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization working with citizens across the nation to get presidential, state, and local candidates on record on science policy prior to election day. She has been a Presidential Leadership Scholar, a Marshall Memorial Fellow, a legislative NOAA Sea Grant Knauss Fellow in the U.S. Senate with Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) and a Next Generation Fellow through the Robert Strauss Center for International Security and Law. She speaks internationally about science communication and has appeared as a thought leader at events like TEDGlobal and Ciudad de las Ideas.
Sheril has been featured in documentary films about science and society and her writing appears in publications such as Bloomberg and The Atlantic, frequently covering topics from climate change to parenthood. Her work has been published in scientific journals including Science and Nature and she is featured in the anthology The Best American Science Writing 2010. Sheril has been a guest on news programs like CNN and Fox News and interviewed in magazines such as Vanity Fair. She has also hosted blogs at Discover, Scientific American and Wired, as well as the weekly NPR podcast Serving Up Science. She holds MSc degrees in marine biology and policy and is currently a PhD candidate in community sustainability at Michigan State University. Her research focuses on how we make decisions about science and policy.
Previously Sheril served as director of the University of Texas at Austin Energy Poll. She has also worked with the Webber Energy Group at the Center for International Energy and Environmental Policy and Duke University's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions. Sheril has been a visiting scholar with The Pimm Group, a fellow with the Center for Biodiversity and Conservation at the American Museum of Natural History and a Howard Hughes Research Fellow. She lives in East Lansing, Michigan with her husband, David Lowry, and sons.
PBS SeriesServing Up Science
A SERIES ON PBS DIGITAL STUDIOSHOSTED BY SHERIL KIRSHENBAUM
The series all about food: where it comes from and how it impacts our health and our planet. History buff, foodie and science writer Sheril Kirshenbaum serves up a side of science and history, explores the reasons behind the recipe, and offers some tasty tips on your favorite foods.
Watch at PBS Food on YouTube and in the free PBS App!
New episodes every other Thursday at noon, Nov. 17, 2022 - Jan. 12, 2023.
Unscientific AmericaIn his famous 1959 Rede lecture at Cambridge University, the scientifically-trained novelist C.P. Snow described science and the humanities as "two cultures," separated by a "gulf of mutual incomprehension." And the humanists had all the cultural power—the low prestige of science, Snow argued, left Western leaders too little educated in scientific subjects that were increasingly central... more
The Science of KissingFrom a noted science journalist comes a wonderfully witty and fascinating exploration of how and why we kiss. When did humans begin to kiss? Why is kissing integral to some cultures and alien to others? Do good kissers make the best lovers? And is that expensive lip-plumping gloss worth it? Sheril Kirshenbaum, a biologist and science journalist, tackles these questions and more in THE SCIENCE OF KISSING... more
If it were up to me, this book would be required reading...Only when we begin training scientists to understand the relationship between science and society, and their crucial role in that relationship, will be begin to solve the dilemma so eloquently described in Unscientific America.
In the vein of Stephen Pinker’s The Language Instinct, scientist Kirshenbaum examines one of humanity’s fondest pastimes [writing] just as gracefully about prostitutes in pop culture as she does the myriad of complicated biological and chemical processes that science uses to explain osculation.
The Science of Kissing is a wonderful idea for a book that is wonderfully embodied.
Kirshenbaum draws on psychology, biology, history, and other disciplines in this highly engaging, highly informative book.
Kirshenbaum’s honesty, wit, and creativity make this book a journey to treasure.
A wake up call to Americans, and a catalyst to politicians, before it's too late.
The best science book I've read in a long time, offering a new level of understanding to an innate part of ourselves, and making it seem even more enchanting. This is a must-read for everyone, and I can't wait to see what Kirshenbaum comes out with next.
One of my favourite science books of the last year..a whirlwind tour through an instantly relatable topic, told with warmth, pace, and a perfect balance of accuracy and accessibility.
Sheril Kirshenbaum makes reading about this strange and fascinating practice almost as much fun as doing it.
A unique book full of delightful adianoeta and all manner of insight into human physiology and culture..what an exceptionally thoughtful, cool gift this would make for Valentine's Day.
Featured MediaView All Media
Serving Up Science
WEDNESDAYS DURING ALL THINGS CONSIDEREDHOSTED BY SHERIL KIRSHENBAUM, KAREL VEGA
The series ran 2018-2019 and was all about food, where it comes from and how it impacts our health and our planet. History buff, foodie and science writer Sheril Kirshenbaum and co-host Karel Vega explored the science and history of our favorite foods. Serving Up Science was broadcast Wednesdays during All Things Considered on 90.5 FM in mid-Michigan. Start listening to one of Sheril's favorite episodes about The Poison Squad!
Also make sure to check out Serving Up Science on PBS!
For speaking engagements, professional development workshops and general inquiries, contact me.