Dr. Sheril Kirshenbaum is an Emmy Award-winning scientist and author at Michigan State University. She works to enhance public understanding of science and improve communication between scientists, policymakers and the public. She hosts and writes the PBS series, Serving Up Science, currently in its fourth season.

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 within the National Science Policy Network, 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.

In 2023, Sheril was awarded a regional Emmy by the The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for Serving Up Science. She 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 two master's degrees in marine biology and policy, and her Ph.D. research focused on how senior congressional staffers in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives 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.

Read more about what Sheril is up to in the Bush Center's 2023 Q&A.

PBS Series

Serving Up Science



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!


Book Two

Unscientific America

In 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

Book One

The Science of Kissing

From 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

Book Reviews

Featured Media

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PBS Food

Today Show on CBS

March for Science, DC

Nite Show Highlight


Climate Change & Food on PBS

Serving Up Science



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.

Contact Sheril

For speaking engagements, professional development workshops and general inquiries, contact me.