My Articles

Benjamin Franklin: An Original Locavore

How does today’s food knowledge stack up to that of the colonists? MSU's Our Table host Sheril Kirshenbaum explains. Futures Magazine, Spring/Summer 2017

Remarks: March for Science

Full text of Sheril's remarks from the March for Science in Washington, DC. April 22, 2017

Embracing the unqualified opinion

Two timely new books grapple with the dangerous disconnect between expertise, policy-makers, and the public that threatens to undermine scientific progress and American democracy. Science Magazine, April 8, 2017 [Full Text]

After We March

How to become—and stay—involved in science policy. TheScientist, March 16, 2017

Selection of Governor Perry Offers Glimmer of Hope to Environmentalists

While Perry was governor, Texas led the way on two innovations that helped the U.S. lower carbon emissions. BloombergView, December 14, 2016

Mother- and Daughter-In-Laws: Can't We Just Get Along?

The evolutionary biology and neuroscience behind what drives us apart from our in-laws. The Washington Post, November 12, 2016

Parenthood seems to make us unhappy. So why do we keep doing it?

Under the right circumstances, kids have the capacity to bring out our best selves, emotionally, chemically and biologically. The Washington Post, October 9, 2016 (Reprinted in The Chicago Tribune and The Sun Sentinel)

How 'Frankenstein' prevents us from tackling climate change

The eruption of Mount Tambora two hundred years ago left a surprising and persistent cultural impact, which has influenced our current reticence to deal with anthropogenic climate change. Earth Magazine, March 9, 2016

What’s in a kiss? Nothing less than the very essence of what it is to be human

As new anthropological research shows the different ways we express love, Kirshenbaum takes a romantic trip through history and around the world. The Guardian, July 19, 2015 (Reprinted in The Daily Telegraph)

Despite Rhetoric, Climate Change Ranks Low in Public’s Keystone Pipeline Worries

A big battle over the Keystone XL pipeline is under way in Washington, DC. But, it’s mostly fought on terms that don’t matter to the American people. The Conversation, May 26, 2015

The Science Behind Kissing

Science has barely begun to study kissing, despite its obvious evolutionary significance, but what we already know demonstrates that there’s a lot more going on than meets the eyes – and lips. The Washington Post, November 22, 2014 (Reprinted in The Guardian, The National Post, iflscience.com, The Independent and The Daily Mail)

Postdocs In Limbo? Expand Your Options

Scientists should be looking for new areas to apply their knowledge and training beyond the university career path — in the real world, where it also really matters. The Boston Globe, October 10, 2014

Time To Get Up to Speed on Hydraulic Fracturing

If we hope to advance our economic and foreign policy goals through the current U.S. natural gas boom, it’s time to get the public up to speed on hydraulic fracturing. Know, September 12, 2014

Chaos Theory

Kids are messy, exhausting and expensive. But when it comes to parenting, scientific evidence proves that the perks for our health and happiness far outweigh the pitfalls. Spirit (Southwest Airlines Magazine), August 2014

A kiss is not a kiss: visually evoked neuromagnetic fields reveal differential sensitivities to brief presentations of kissing couples

The journal article reporting on findings from the neuroscience experiment conducted in Chapter 10 of Sheril's book, The Science of Kissing. (with co-authors Gregory Cogan, Jeffrey Walker and David Poeppel) Neuroreport

A Call For Translatlantic Energy Diplomacy

Only through strong transatlantic relations will there be hope of finding diplomatic solutions to our most pressing international challenges. German Marshall Fund/NATO Blog, July 18, 2014 - Honorable Mention

Having Kids Probably Won't Destroy the Planet

An overpopulated planet is not necessarily doomed. What matters most is how those billions of people choose to live. The Atlantic, May 25, 2014

No, the Sun Does Not Revolve Around the Earth

Science literacy isn't remembering a bunch of facts. It's an appreciation and understanding of the scientific process and the ability to think critically. CNN, February 18, 2014

International Aid For Women Needs More Energy

What do women need? Better Energy. Sheril and Michael Webber detail the reasons why. Slate, November 4, 2013

The Power of Public Opinion: Defining Global Energy Priorities

Public opinion on energy shapes future policy decisions, but attitudes are not always based on facts alone. Sheril explores recent trends on topics like climate change and renewables. Global Energy Affairs, A publication of The United Nations, p. 9-10, October, 2013

2013: Energy issues on front burner

Sheril says natural gas fracking, climate change and renewables are likely to drive discussions of energy in the new year. CNN, December 28, 2012

Great Ideas On Energy

A snapshot on why public opinion on energy matters and Sheril's role at UT Austin. The University of Texas Alumni Magazine, November 1, 2012

Energy Perception And Policy Reality

Energy policies often cross party lines and we must open our eyes to when and where they do. More importantly, we must, at times, be willing to cross party lines along with them. NPR, October 15, 2012

The World Has A Water Problem

Water may seem ubiquitous and abundant, but that's somewhat of an illusion. The Austin-American Statesman, May 20, 2012

A Supersized Waste of Energy

At a time when nations around the world are becoming ever more desperate to secure remaining energy reserves, including Canada’s oilsands, it just doesn’t make any sense to be throwing so much of it away. Ottawa Citizen, May 15, 2012

Do Bonobos And Chimpanzees Offer A Path To Understanding Human Behavior?

What leads people to acts of violence and genocide? What triggers empathy and altruism? The answer may be found in the great ape known as the bonobo. NPR, May 7, 2012

The Giving Sea

Following the lead of Shel Silverstein, who wrote "The Giving Tree" in 1964, Sheril and Michael Webber share a similar story about The Giving Sea. Will the oceans give all before we realize what we've taken? Earth Magazine, April 2012

Time for Another Giant Leap For Mankind

If it's true that we cannot improve what we do not measure, then the fact that water R&D hasn't been carefully tracked for the past 50 years is a sign we're not taking it seriously. Issues in Science and Technology, Spring 2012

The World Has A Water Problem

There's water everywhere on this planet; but very little of it is actually available to use. NPR, April 24, 2012

Taking a Bite Out Of Energy Consumption

If we truly value energy in this country, we have to figure out how to save more and waste less. NPR, March 11, 2012

The Science of Kissing

A kiss can tell us when to pursue a deeper connection with someone or when to back off. CNN, February 14, 2012

How to make the first kiss count

The empirical and neurological observations that can help lead to improved osculation for you and your loved one. Wired UK, February 2012

It's Time to Shine the Spotlight on Energy Education

Sheril and Michael E. Webber on retooling energy education at universities so that students emerge with an understanding of the complex political, technical, and social issues involved. The Chronicle of Higher Education, January 22, 2012

The Earth Doesn’t Need To Change, We Do

Although geoengineering seems to promise a climate quick fix, we shouldn’t be experimenting on our only home. At least, not yet. Ottawa Citizen, December 16, 2011

The Kiss

We celebrate kisses in literature and art. On screen, it’s the moment we’re always waiting for, and the climax of every great love story. And in our own lives, it’s the ultimate way to express how we feel. Design Mind Magazine, "The Stuff of Life" special TED issue, Fall 2011

Energy should form its own discipline

Sheril and Michael E. Webber on why retooling the energy system will require a range of experts who understand new technologies and can translate them to the public, while considering the economic drivers necessary for their adoption. Nature, October 6, 2011

Energy should form its own discipline

Sheril and Michael E. Webber on why retooling the energy system will require a range of experts who understand new technologies and can translate them to the public, while considering the economic drivers necessary for their adoption. Nature, October 6, 2011

Ocean Acidification: Beyond the Carbon Debate

There is no debate that rapidly increasing seawater acidity is the result of man-made carbon emissions. Science Progress, September 14, 2011

By The Numbers: Is Basic Research Worth It?

As the nation grows increasingly worried about the economy, David Lowry and Sheril look at the real cost of basic research. The Austin American Statesman, September 1, 2011

Finding Lost Love, and Then Divorce, Online

In the 21st century, old friends are virtually at our fingertips, and a seemingly harmless email sent to someone with the innocent intention of “catching up” can quickly go further. Bloomberg View, July 14, 2011

Counterpoint: Dressing Modestly Doesn’t Stop Sexual Violence

As we become comfortable talking about sexual violence, there will be less associated shame and marginalization. That is what has to change and by lifting the silence, we move a bit closer to that end. The National Post, June 24, 2011

More Than Just A Kiss

Amid the chaos of a riot may have been the perfect place for the most universal and humanizing practice we all share, writes Sheril Kirshenbaum. The Ottawa Citizen, June 20, 2011

Help Bio-Designed Cassava Save The World

Making transgenic crops available in developing countries would save thousands of lives and be more cost-effective than providing vitamin supplements or fortifying foods. Bloomberg View, June 16, 2011

Texas Must Stay True To Science

Sheril and Michael E. Webber on why we must arm children with the academic tools and curiosity to succeed in the global community. The Austin-American Statesman, May 8, 2011

Book Excerpt: The Kiss

A Universal Language Understood Around the World. The National Post, February 14, 2011

The History of Kissing

We may think of kissing as innate, but it's changed through history. The Daily Beast, February 13, 2011

Pucker Up!

There's nothing like a great smooch to boost your mood instantly. Martha Stewart Living, February 2011

When choosing a mate, you can't beat up-close chemistry

What could possibly be better, faster, or a more reliable than Internet dating? Science suggests it's an old-fashioned, traditional encounter. The Austin American Statesman, January 2, 2011

Sealed with a kiss - and neuroscience

Just what is it that makes kissing such a powerful and significant part of the human experience? The Washington Post, Sunday, December 26, 2010

20 Things You Didn't Know About Kissing

Sheril delves into the science behind osculation. Discover Magazine, January/February 2011

A Tale of Two States: Offshore Wind in Texas and the Curious Case of Massachusetts

In 2010, offshore wind development progressed in Massachusetts and Texas, two states with very different perspectives on energy. (with co-author Michael E. Webber) Earth Magazine, December 2010

Energy and Immigration

Sheril and Michael Webber on how a changing climate compounded by declining oil production will drive more people over the Mexican border. The Boston Globe, November 26, 2010

Book Review: Bonobo Handshake: A Memoir of Love and Adventure in the Congo

Sheril reviews a new book by Vanessa Woods. Duke Magazine, November-December 2010

Stop wasting food, save the world's energy

The scandal of food waste is even worse when you consider how much energy is being thrown away, say Sheril Kirshenbaum and Michael E. Webber. New Scientist, August 11, 2010

Unpopular Science

Chris and Sheril on how intelligent science reporting has been gutted--just when we need it most. The Nation, August 17, 2009 Reprinted in The Best American Science Writing 2010

Must Science Declare a Holy War on Religion?

The so-called New Atheists are attacking the mantra of science and faith being compatible. Chris and Sheril question the value of confrontation. The Los Angeles Times, August 11, 2009 (The Guardian, August 24, 2009) The Formula

The Formula

Why don't Americans understand science better? Start with the scientists. (with Chris Mooney) The Boston Globe, July 26, 2009

Defenders of the Faith

Chris and Sheril on how scientists who blast religion are hurting their own cause. Newsweek, July 14, 2009

How Scientific Illiteracy Cost Us 20 Years on Global Warming

Chris and Sheril on why the climate issue is the most powerful -- and also the most catastrophic -- example of how our society dysfunctionally managed matters of science. BuzzFlash, July 13, 2009

Why America is Flunking Science

Don't just blame poor education for our nation's scientific illiteracy -- but our politics and pop culture. (with co-author Chris Mooney) Salon, July 13, 2009

The Culture Crosser

Chris Mooney and Sheril put C.P. Snow's famous Two Cultures lecture into context. The New York Academy of Sciences Magazine, Spring 2009

Science On The Campaign Trail

Building the ScienceDebate2008 initiative, lessons from the election, and what's needed to create an environment where the public's understanding and appreciation of science policy will make scientists critical in the political process. (with co-author Shawn Lawrence Otto) Issues In Science And Technology, Winter 2009

K*I*S*S*I*N*G

As natural as kissing seems, it also means swapping mucus, bacteria and who knows what else, so how and why would such a behaviour evolve? New Scientist, Issue 2695. February, 14 2009

The Science Project

How To Rev Up Clean Tech (reporting with Chris Mooney) Mother Jones, November/December 2008

Bush's Last Stand Against The Environment

Sounding the alarm as the Bush administration prepares last minute rulemakings to undermine the Clean Air Act, Endangered Species Act, and other environmental laws. (with co-author Chris Mooney) Blue Ridge Press, October 10, 2008

LETTERS; Converging Cultures

On inhabiting the space between the sciences and humanities. The New York Times, June 3, 2008

Plight Of The Postdoc

Is Modern American Science Strangling Its Young Talents In the Cradle? Science Progress, June 26, 2008

Science and the Candidates

To raise the profile of science in our national dialogue and in the minds of policy-makers and the public. (with co-authors Chris Mooney, Shawn Lawrence Otto, Matthew Chapman, Austin Dacey, Rush Holt, and Lawrence Krauss) Science. Volume 320 no. 5873 p. 182 April 11, 2008

A Call for a Presidential Debate on Science and Technology Policy

Announcing the launch of the ScienceDebate2008 initative. (with co-author Matthew Chapman) The Huffington Post, December 12, 2007

An Evaluation of the Maine Sea Cucumber Resources and Impacts of Exploitation

with Yong Chen, Scott Feindel, Lawrence Ray, Drusilla Ray, Russell Leach, and David Leach) Report to the Northeast Consortium, July 2005

A Tagging Study of the Sea Cucumber (Cucumaria frondosa)

Sea cucumbers in the Gulf of Maine. (with co-authors Scott Feindel and Yong Chen) Fishery Bulletin, 104(2) 299-302

Preference And Performance of a Willow-feeding Leaf Beetle: Soil Nutrient and Flooding Effects on Host Quality

Soil nutrients can influence adult preference and adult beetles choose high-quality hosts that promote egg production. (with co-authors Steven Lower and Colin Orians) Oecologia, 136:402-411

A Report on the Status of the Coral Reefs of Bonaire with Advice on the Establishment of Fish Protection Areas

Chapter 7: Diver tourists: the aesthetic and economic value of fish protected areas p. 58-62 Full Report by Robert Steneck and Tim McClanahan Report to the Bonaire Marine National Park, 2004