Sheril Kirshenbaum and Scientific Literacy

 Hello Lovely Readers! 

download (9)This week I am honored to showcase an author that inspired me to start the journey into science communication. Sheril Kirshenbaum is both a scientist, and a science communicator, and is best known for teaming up with journalist Chris Mooney to write the book Unscientific America. In this book, Sheril focuses on the U.S. public and their scientific literacy. She looks at how science and scientists are being portrayed by the media, movies, and even books. 

When I met Sheril over zoom I was shocked by how young she was. I was expecting someone who had written a popular and ground-breaking book to be much older than she is, and I was impressed by this. In interviewing Sheril I was struck by how passionate she was on the topic of science communication. Currently, she’s working in the food science communication industry, particularly looking at food shortages. Our interview ranged from how she communicates food shortages to the public to COVID-19’s effect on science communication. When I asked Sheril what we can do as science communicators, Sheril advised education (reading and research) as well as listening to the audience you’re trying to communicate with. She said that when she worked on Capitol Hill, the scientists she would talk to wouldn’t listen to her point of view as they were too busy arguing their own. I couldn’t help but agree with this point, and hope to use it in my own future science communication. 

Sheril is about to start her Ph.D., and I hope to continue to follow her writing and her work throughout the rest of my life. Please listen to her interview below, even if you’re not into science or science communication. She gives great advice about the effects the current political climate has on science, as well as how we can help our society be more scientifically advanced. You can even read her book here, if you want your own copy. Though Unscientific America is 10 years old, it’s still extremely relevant today, especially in the wake of COVID-19. 


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