Three Events To Watch

By Sheril Kirshenbaum | September 25, 2009 10:38 am

It’s been a very busy month finishing up the manuscript and I haven’t had a chance to tell readers about some terrific activities going on:

* Students from RPI are sailing up the Hudson this week in a boat they outfitted to run on hydrogen fuel cells. It’s a throwback to Robert Fulton’s trip 200 years ago to show off his new steam boat and prove the viability of steam as a power source for transportation. They’re blogging the experience on the boat at, there’s a facebook group, and photos too. Very cool!

* Here in Durham, I’m getting ready to be on a panel at the U2 Conference October 2-4. That’s right, a whole academic conference celebrating the music, work, and influence of U2! The program looks like fun and I’m on Sunday with David Kroll to talk about the way musicians can have an impact on social issues and politics.

* Back in the big city, there’s a new SciCafe at the American Museum of Natural History on Exoplanets and the Search for Life in the Universe. It happens Wednesday, October 7, at 7 pm in the Gottesman Hall of Planet Earth. Admission is free. Check this out:

Science enthusiasts are invited to enjoy the Museum after hours with music, drinks, and thought-provoking conversation at the kick-off of the new monthly series SciCafe.  Surrounded by magnificent rock and mineral specimens in the Gottesman Hall of Planet Earth, guests will have a chance to mingle as AMNH astrophysicist Ben Oppenheimer discusses exoplanets, or planets outside our solar system, as well as his search for a hypothetical Earth-twin and signs of habitability in nearby planetary systems. Oppenheimer will also explain his role as principal investigator on the Lyot Project, which aims to reveal how planets and solar systems are formed.


Comments (3)

  1. The Alpha Male

    U2 Conference…..take lots of ‘NoDoz’ ( with you.

  2. John Kwok

    Am a bit skeptical of the AMNH SciCafe since AMNH has slashed substantially funding for its Education department which used to produce a lot of first -rate cultural events programming like, for example, inviting Polynesian dance troupes, Japanese Kodo drummers, Chinese dancers and musicians, just to name but a few. Seems like AMNH is going more and more the Disney World route. Am surprised that they’re not kicking off the SciCafe with someone like Hayden Planetarium director – and host of NOVA SCience Now – Neil de Grasse Tyson.

  3. John Kwok

    Moreover, I might add too that AMNH’s Education Department is supposedly working on an event to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the original publication of Darwin’s “On the Origin of Species” in conjunction with Stony Brook University’s notable Department of Ecology and Evolution. But I haven’t seen any announcements for it. Instead, there are fliers advertising not only the AMNH SciCafe but a first Sunday in October event for families featuring the rock band They Might Be Giants. I guess Darwin isn’t sufficiently “sexy” for AMNH anymore.


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About Sheril Kirshenbaum

Sheril Kirshenbaum is a research scientist with the Webber Energy Group at the University of Texas at Austin's Center for International Energy and Environmental Policy where she works on projects to enhance public understanding of energy issues as they relate to food, oceans, and culture. She is involved in conservation initiatives across levels of government, working to improve communication between scientists, policymakers, and the public. Sheril is the author of The Science of Kissing, which explores one of humanity's fondest pastimes. She also 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 his top recommended read. Sheril contributes to popular publications including Newsweek, The Washington Post, Discover Magazine, and The Nation, frequently covering topics that bridge science and society from climate change to genetically modified foods. Her writing is featured in the anthology The Best American Science Writing 2010. In 2006 Sheril served as a legislative Knauss science fellow on Capitol Hill with Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) where she was involved in energy, climate, and ocean policy. She also has experience working on pop radio and her work has been published in Science, Fisheries Bulletin, Oecologia, and Issues in Science and Technology. In 2007, she helped to found Science Debate; an initiative encouraging candidates to debate science research and innovation issues on the campaign trail. Previously, Sheril was a research associate at Duke University's Nicholas School of the Environment and has served as a Fellow with the Center for Biodiversity and Conservation at the American Museum of Natural History and as a Howard Hughes Research Fellow. She has contributed reports to The Nature Conservancy and provided assistance on international protected area projects. Sheril serves as a science advisor to NPR's Science Friday and its nonprofit partner, Science Friday Initiative. She also serves on the program committee for the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). She speaks regularly around the country to audiences at universities, federal agencies, and museums and has been a guest on such programs as The Today Show and The Daily Rundown on MSNBC. Sheril is a graduate of Tufts University and holds two masters of science degrees in marine biology and marine policy from the University of Maine. She co-hosts The Intersection on Discover blogs with Chris Mooney and has contributed to DeSmogBlog, Talking Science, Wired Science and Seed. She was born in Suffern, New York and is also a musician. Sheril lives in Austin, Texas with her husband David Lowry.Interested in booking Sheril Kirshenbaum to speak at your next event? Contact Hachette Speakers Bureau 866.376.6591 info@hachettespeakersbureau.comFor more information, visit her website or email Sheril at


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