But Dawkins, Are 96.4% Of Modern Science Writers Men?

By Sheril Kirshenbaum | December 5, 2009 8:35 pm

Of course not. But I was startled to read this post by DrHGG:

Got myself an early yule present today; “The Oxford book of modern science writing” edited by teh Dawkins d00d. A first glance of the table of contents sends happy shivers down my spine – a great collection of 83 pieces of science writing. Extracts from key classics and more recent texts as well as shorter pieces like JBS Haldane’s heartbreaking but very funny “Cancer’s a funny thing”.

But since I can’t seem to leave my gender glasses behind ever, I started counting. And that takes me to the first complaint. Of 83 texts Professor D has selected 3 written by women. That’s about 3.6 %. How hard could it be to find a handful more?

While I don’t own the book itself, I skimmed the table of contents at Amazon and it appears she’s onto something. No, I’m not surprised, however, Dr. Isis, Rebecca, Sci, Sciencewomen, Janet, Zuska, Tara… we have work to do.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Culture, Science Workforce

Comments (68)

  1. arna

    the point being?

    women should write more articles/articles of women are not included because men choose which articles are included/the quality of the “female” aricles aren’t good enough…etc. or is it just a “observation”?

    wtf. pointless to the point of frustration.

  2. What strikes me as odd is that I live in a science-intensive area of the US and find >75% of the science writers I know to be women. I don’t know the distribution, say, of the NASW membership, but my guess is that more than half of science writers are women. So, I don’t think there are a shortage of great science writers who are women. Instead, we might suggest that the title of “The Oxford Book of Modern Science Writing” be changed to “Yet Another Old White Dude’s Perception of Modern Science Writing.”

  3. The point seems fairly obvious but let’s lay it out simply for the slower among us.

    1) Is it right that just 3.6% of posts in a compilation of science writing are by women?

    There is certainly no shortage of excellent female science writers to choose from. One of them writes this blog. Others are linked to in this very post. Olivia Judson, Deborah Mackenzie, Virginia Hughes, Natasha Loder, Linda Geddes, I could go on. Their skill is equal to and often superior to their male peers. Even if you disagree with that statement, that would in itself be interesting because it highlights that “writing quality” is a subjective opinion. There is no SI unit for this. It comes down to the preferences, opinions and, yes, biases of the viewer or editor. You’d be insane to argue that the 83 pieces in this tome are the best 83 articles written in 2008; they’re simply a selection of good ones. Under such circumstances, it’s hardly difficult to give some thought to diversity. So, once again, why are so few written by women?

    2) Why does it matter if there aren’t many articles by women?

    Aside from the previously outlined issue with sex bias, this shortage perpetuates conditions where women in all fields of science (including, apparently, its communication) are underepresented, undervalued and not signposted to potential role models (see list of names in part 1). Seeing a compilation selected by a big name and distinctly lacking in female ones sends out a negative message to existing female science writers and a discouraging message to aspiring ones.

  4. Sheril, what is interesting is that Dawkins’s book does not have essays just by “science writers” but by bona-fide scientists like Haldane, Oppenheimer and Medawar. That makes it even less excusable that there are such few women in it.

    However it is undoubtedly true that most recent famous science writers have been overwhelmingly men, and this is a niche waiting for women to be exploited, as demonstrated recently by women like Judson, Roach, and hopefully, Kirshenbaum…

  5. Just did a quick eye-scan of Open Laboratory anthologies, which are community collected, judged and edited.

    2006: 10women out of 51 entries included in the book.
    2007: 18 out of 53
    2008: 17 out of 52

    Not yet 50% but better than Dawkins….

  6. M Burke

    He’s a chauvinist, and doesn’t have to answer for it because as merely a product of evolution nothing he does has any intrinsic moral value. Why are you complaining?

  7. ARJ

    In fairness to Dawkins (and I actually like this anthology even better than his evolution books), this is not a volume of science writers, but a volume of professional scientists who wrote classic, memorable science, and from a historical standpoint that limits the number of possible female choices (a number of the best female science writers/journalists prominent right now, are not themselves scientists and wouldn’t qualify)… indeed for every female who cold be included here there are probably another 4-5 men who were also deserving but left out.
    I wouldn’t fault Dawkins for an education system that long steered women away from science. (50 years from now such an anthology will no doubt look different.)

  8. Marion Delgado

    When you look at representation in polled top science blogs, are you keeping in mind that that’s a game (like web polls or Amazon reviews) mostly played by right-wing men? That’s why Anthony Watts, Unfrozen Caveman Meteorologist, won.

    Also, how many science bloggers are women, as a percentage? And if it’s a top 10 out of N science blogs, what would, say, a normal distribution have for men vs. women in that top 10?

    I would say most of the deficit left is the right-wing gaming of everything bloggish. and thanks to evolution and climate change marching orders for the religious base and the fossil fuel base, now they’re gaming science, and they do have a bias that female scientists are more liberal, and probably simply don’t respect women in science as much as men.

    In any area not in heated controversy, I think even the gentlest pushing would pop more women up to the top of the lists. Right now I see lots of women on medical issues, and philosophy of science. I think of Bee as probably being mainly a blogger for advanced physics. Doctor Free-ride is way up there for philosophy of science. It could be the old idea that you “cede” biology to women and men get chemistry and physics and engineering or some such godawful notion, too.

    To change the subject to something more pleasant, which woman is your favorite climate blogger?

  9. Marion Delgado

    M Burke, how short-sighted of you!! It’s one of his genes that is, in your terms, sexist:

    http://cereales.lapin.org/strips2/671chromosomes.gif

    But really it’s seeking to reproduce itself as best it can with a complex strategy built up over millions of years from small tactical choices.

  10. Since Coturnix has the numbers, I wonder how the # of Open Laboratory Anthology selections corresponds to the number submitted (i.e. did women also only represent 35% of the posts submitted for judging?)

  11. Matt Penfold

    Dawkins did not choose from science writers, he chose from the writings of working scientists. He is quite clear about this in the introduction to his book.

  12. steve

    I just looked through my bookshelf and realised that there isn’t a single female author on it (not counting textbooks). Why? I think back to the female authors I have read – those that were recommended to me, those that rated highly on various rankings etc. I’ve just never really enjoyed them that much.

    Once I had a friend give me ten excerpts from books I hadn’t read, and I ranked them in terms of what I preferred. Without knowing the authors, I still put the female authors at the bottom.

    This ***does not*** mean that women are poor authors. It means that my (probably excessively) masculine brain doesn’t like something about how many women write. Maybe I just lack an acquired taste, I don’t think you can call me sexist for that – remember, even without knowing the gender of the author, I preferred male authors. And there definitely is a difference – Dickens was able to spot that George Eliot was actually a female (although not many other people did).

    If I prefer reading fiction written by men, then perhaps this also translates to science (although definitely not the peer reviewed journal kind), although I am less certain of that. I’m pretty sure that it does translate to the kind of stuff I find in the blogosphere. So if a larger portion of the readers are men, and men were to have an affinity for male blogging style, this may explain why the rankings come out the way they are, and why someone like Dawkins might prefer science prose written by men.

  13. The Best American Science Writing 2009 has 11 out of 24 articles written by women. The series which has been going on for a decade has had 4 female editors out of a possible 10.

  14. “There is certainly no shortage of excellent female science writers to choose from. One of them writes this blog. Others are linked to in this very post. Olivia Judson, Deborah Mackenzie, Virginia Hughes, Natasha Loder, Linda Geddes, I could go on. Their skill is equal to and often superior to their male peers. . . . You’d be insane to argue that the 83 pieces in this tome are the best 83 articles written in 2008.”

    2008? Who said anything about 2008? This anthology goes back a hundred years, and not a single contribution is as recent as 2008. It is not an anthology of “science writing”, such as would indeed include Olivia Judson and the other admirable science writers whom you list. It is a collection of writing by good scientists, many of them dead and very distinguished. I am not one of those who thinks men are genetically better equipped than women to become distinguished scientists. Presumably for other reasons, it is a regrettable fact that the great majority of distinguished scientists of the past 100 years, as measured by Nobel Prizes, Fellowships of the Royal Society, numbers of science publications, etc, have been male. That imbalance, and not an imbalance in my preference or my choice, is what is reflected in the anthology.

    Richard Dawkins

  15. ER Johnson

    What is the point of this article?

    Using similar logic, one could write an article that 82% of the NBA players are African American — disproportionately representing racial distribution in the popluation (or even those that play basketball) at large.

    Both of which I say: so what?

  16. Sven DiMilo

    we have work to do

    To be clear, more blogging is not the work that needs to be done here.

  17. Pete

    Sven,
    All women named and linked do a LOT more than blogging.
    To be clear.
    Peter

  18. Harman Smith

    What’s the difference between a scientist who writes about science and a science writer? I guess a scientist who writes a book on a rare occasion is a scientist… but what if that scientist writes a lot of books that are very well written? Is it a matter of reputation? What if the scientist in my example also does a lot of really good science stuff AND writes outstanding books? What then?!?!?

  19. Martin

    we have work to do

    To be clear, more blogging is not the work that needs to be done here.

    Exactly, what needs to be done is great science and great writing.

  20. Dave24

    The author of the material doesn’t matter. The substance does. Dawkins created a collection of works that he personally found relevant and important. Taking into account the sex of each author is completely pointless. Find something else to complain about.

  21. bilbo

    Dawkins just opened up a whole new can of worms: is the “science writing” meant to reflect the nontechnical writings of scientists, the writings of nonscientists about science, or a combination of the two?

  22. I have to say that I find Dr. Dawkin’s defense (“It is not an anthology of “science writing”) to be a trifle disconcerting when the title of the book in question advertises itself as an anthology of modern science writing. One might also be forgiven for not realizing that “modern” in the title spans the last 100 years.

    It looks to be a great collection of essays, but I think it needs a clearer title. Perhaps “An Anthology of Great Writing by Eminent 20th century Scientists”?

  23. One might also be forgiven for not realizing that “modern” in the title spans the last 100 years.

    Well, it is the OXFORD book of . . . and the view from Oxford is that the twentieth century is modern. No Newton, Harvey, no Hooke, no Dalton, no Priestley, no Faraday, no Darwin, no Maxwell. But yes, your title might have been better. Too late, sorry.
    Richard

  24. Bryan

    It’s not CONTEMPORARY science writing. As far as I understand it, the “modern” period is considered to have ended somewhere around the mid- to late- twentieth century.

  25. Abel @ #10

    Difficult to figure out as there are a) multiple submissions from many blogs, b) multi-author blogs, c) people who write on multiple blogs, d) blogs whose title does not tell me immediately “Oh, I know this blog and the author is M or F”, e) blogs whose authors hide their gender and I don’t know, and f) so many hundreds of entries to check…. :-(

    My gut-feeling is that the proportion of included posts does not diverge substantially from the proportion of submitted posts.

    What is bothersome is that some female bloggers have (I think erroneous) perception that OpenLab is not inclusive and welcoming so they don’t submit their posts. I personally submitted many posts by female bloggers myself every year. In 07 I put my editorial foot down (at risk of alienating Reed) and replaced a couple of male-authored posts with a couple of female-authored ones as I was distraught by the sex-ratio.

    There may also be this feeling that “I should not submit my own, my readers should” despite my repeated notes that “nobody knows your archives as well as you do – please submit your own” – perhaps males are better self-promoters and less queasy about submitting their own?

    But I make sure that at least half of the judges each year are female. And so far I have annual editors at 50:50 (06 and 07 were done by me and Reed Cartwright, while 08 and 09 were edited by Jennifer Rohn and SciCurious). All the people I am thinking of for the next year happen to be women as well.

    What bothers me most is that different topics are different – so-called “hard sciences” are dominated by posts by men, while “lab life” kinds of posts are predominantly female. Biology is more even. Sci and I have discussed this at length. We’ll try to do our best this year.

  26. Ed Yong

    Apologies to Dr Dawkins if Ive maligned his editorial decisions based on a faulty understanding of the book’s remit. I look forward to seeing the writing of this generation of female science writers (or scientists who write) represented in the sequel tome, when it comes out in 2108 ;-)

  27. Marion Delgado

    I don’t think this is so much an attack / defense thing as a stick your finger in the air and check the wind thing. I especially agree with the “the work that has to be done is not more blogging” albeit I think you’d eventually find that blogging is also something that would be involved.

    SILLY ARGUMENTS RIDICULED.; Why the Oxford Dons Refuse to Give Degrees to Women.

    March 16, 1896, Wednesday

    Page 4, 421 words

    From The London Daily News. By 215 votes to 140 the Oxford dons have decided against allowing women students, who have qualified for the B.A. degree, to obtain it. They have so decided on two grounds — first, for the good of the women students; second, for the good of the men students.

  28. Marion Delgado

    By the way, at least in the States, one of the most famous women science writers is Rachel Carson, and she’s being completely viified (as well as defended).

  29. Harman Smith

    I think Rachel Carson being attacked has something to do with her being mentioned by Al Gore or something and Rush Limbaugh jumped on that. (Something like that.) They say pretty outrageous things about her & her work. And that reminds me, I still need to read The Sea Around Us.

  30. bilbo

    Dawkins’ responses just took the route of “How dare you criticize me?! I AM RICHARD DAWKINS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Predictable?

  31. Anthony McCarthy

    Haven’t seen the book, I stopped picking up books that are titled The Oxford Book of….. a number of years ago.

  32. Anthony McCarthy

    Dawkins’ responses just took the route of “How dare you criticize me?! I AM RICHARD DAWKINS!

    Welcome to the modern world, Mr. Dawkins.

  33. bilbo

    Indirect quotes, Anthony. Indirect quotes.

    Maybe you took tham that way, though….

  34. I wrote a comment recently on Isis’ blog pointing out that when discussing minorities, people with disabilities very rarely get mentioned. (I’m aware that ‘minority’ is usually thought of in terms of sex, ethnic background & religion. I’ve since written an article on this.)

    Maybe it might be serve as a useful case to work through? Should there be proportionate representation of scientists with disabilities? Should Dawkins’ book include representatives with disabilities? And so on…

    I agree with the thrust of this, but I think it’s only fair to remember that Dawkins’ collection are those written by scientists and generally pieces of historic importance or that have stood the test of time. (As a consequence most are older. In that sense I think the ‘modern’ in the title is relative to ‘ancient’ rather than ‘these last few years’ as others have pointed out.)

    No excuse perhaps, but at least it partly explains the bias.

    One book I’ve previewed, Victorian Science Popularizers, has a chapter devoted to the women science popularizers of that day. They’re not just from recent times. From memory few were scientists, though, so they’d probably not make Dawkins’ anyway?

  35. Anthony McCarthy

    It’s just riffing, bilbo.

    I was tempted to make a joke on The Sun Makers and Gatherer Hade but didn’t know if the reference was current enough to be known.

  36. bilbo

    Gotcha. I have about 17 wonderfully timely references to New Atheists talking about how silly it is for people to get offended when they’re criticized…

    …but the irony just speaks for itself.

  37. Gus Snarp

    Even if this book under-represents women in science, there is still a real problem with the number of women choosing to go into science (not enough do). Women still face barriers from academia, high school teachers, and grade school teachers. But it starts before that. My wife and I were looking for Christmas presents for my three year old boy today. My wife commented on how all the kitchen related toys were pink and aimed exclusively at girls (my boy loves his pink kitchen unit, actually), but then she started looking at toys on a website that had a graph breaking down who a particular toy was bought for by age and sex. We were looking at a solar system puzzle for him. Practically all of them were bought for boys. We need to be encouraging our girls to be interested in science just as early as our boys if we really want to level the playing field (and ensure the greatest potential brain pool for scientific advancement).

  38. Now hold on a second. Even in the last 100 years I can think of a number of major writings by working female scientists that have had lasting effects, or in many cases completely shifted the way we think about our work. In bio anthro, my field, I can name:

    -Margie Profet, who came up with the sperm-borne pathogens hypothesis which did a lot shake up our awareness of male bias in hypothesis testing (since all hypotheses before this implied that the reason women menstruated was because they were dirty, not that who they had sex with might be)
    -Sarah Blaffer Hrdy, who was one of the first people to argue that primate infanticide was not pathology; she also has written some important material on the historical incidence of infanticide in humans
    -Kristen Hawkes, the scholar who came up with the Grandmother Hypothesis and has some truly interesting work on the evolution of longevity
    -Beverly Strassmann, who has written fantastic rebuttals of Profet’s work as well as menstrual synchrony research, AND has her own work on the biology of menstruation, among many other important works
    -What about folks like Lorna Moore and Virginia Vitzthum, who have each done excellent work on understanding hypoxia adaptations (again, among many other significant and interesting works)

    And again, mind you, this is just in a subdiscipline of bio anthro, so is a pretty small crew of scholars.

    It would be worth testing the following hypothesis: men are more likely to select men, and women are more likely to select women. Because given the ways in which sexism operates in science, men still hold the reigns in a lot of ways — in terms of the department heads, the administrators, the editorial board, the committee chairs. I have noticed that forward-thinking men in these groups almost always solicit the opinions of women in order to avoid selection bias, and it tends to lead to higher-quality selections. It’s too bad Dawkins did not do this.

  39. Ok, it makes more sense if one considers people who were both excellent scientists and exceptional writers. That would make the sample more skewed toward men if one considers the twentieth century.

  40. SciFem

    Unfortunately Professor Dawkins’ title includes the phrase “science writing” which is ambiguous in the 21st Century.
    Science writing has become a genre in its own right and I’m surprised the Professor hadn’t realised that before he and his publishers decided on the unfortunate title.

    I’m sure that had he looked more closely at women scientists of the 20th century, he would’ve found enough to include 50% women in his book.

    http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2009/12/06/world/AP-EU-Sweden-Nobel-Women.html?_r=1

    ”The career structure is very much a career structure that has worked for men,” Blackburn told The Associated Press at the sidelines of a press conference in Stockholm.”

  41. Sigmund

    Larry Moran also criticized some of the exclusions from this anthology but perhaps for different and more subjective reasons not having to do with the number of X chromosomes of the authors.
    Perhaps it might be more useful, rather than simply saying we need more women writers included, to put forward some suggestions that fit in with the criteria of the volume.
    For the sake of many of us reading this I suspect there are gems of writing that we have no stumbled upon that readers might point towards.
    I’ve heard Dianne Fossey and Jane Goodall mentioned previously, Christine Nüsslein-Volhard also (although, brilliant scientist that she is, her writing is very difficult to get through for the general public) .
    What we need is a piece of great writing, short enough to be included in the anthology and written in good English prose suitable for the general public. To tell the truth I’m struggling to come up with many pieces written by famous women scientists that fit in with this criteria. Suggestions please!
    And who would you drop from Dawkins current list? Feynman? Gould? Einstein? Pinker? Penrose? (there are, probably, a few others that could be argued against).

  42. Anthony McCarthy

    I’d drop Pinker.

  43. I would drop Einstein; he was never as good a writer as a scientist. I would not drop Pinker because while his writings on evo psych pander to some popular overoptimistic delusions, his writings on linguistics are excellent and widely acknowledged. I found “The Language Instinct” fantastic.

    I wonder if Oliver Sacks is in there.

  44. These comments and the excellent posts by Tara and Mike have me brainstorming this morning…

  45. Gus Snarp

    While it wouldn’t solve the problem of this book, are you perchance brainstorming putting together an anthology of great science writing by women?

  46. bob

    Boy, anything to criticize a prominent atheist, huh? Amazing.

    Sheril sez: “These comments … have me brainstorming this morning.” Brainstorming about what, exactliy? Hopefully, about qualifying your statements in light of the explanation Dawkins provided (which you missed because ***you didn’t read the book***).

    Actually, don’t bother. As-is, you’ve “framed” your point very well. Accuracy be damned, of course, as it always is on The Intersection. Sheesh.

  47. Anonymous Coward

    This post is an embarrassment on so many levels.

    How many African Americans are in the book? How many Jews? How many Asians? How many Muslims? How many veterans? How many transgendered?

    Why are you indignant only over the women included? Why are you indignant over all of these protected classes?

    How come the book’s writers do not reflect the composition and makeup of the UK/US during that modern era? This is certainly sheer bigotry on Dawkins part. (Or maybe on Sheril’s part.)

    Please see Harrison Bergeron for more details.

  48. SLC

    Re Anthony McCarthy

    It’s Dr. Dawkins.

  49. Marion Delgado

    bilbo and Andrew McCarthy – you must have read different responses than I did.

  50. And how many of the writers were black?
    How many of the writers were gay?
    How many of the writers were Jews?

    Do we really have to break down the demographics of the authors now and pick articles based on filling quotas?

    Oops, Anonymous Coward beat me to it.

  51. MadScientist

    Oooh, the Evil Uncivil R. Dawkins didn’t include more female authors. Well, maybe he thought their work was inferior? What is with this senseless complaining about numbers? Who cares if 50% of authors were women – why should 50% automatically be expected to receive an award, etc etc? Criticizing Dawkins is especially puerile since of numerous authors/editors he is one of the few who pushes his new age sensitivity to the point of annoying me. Let authors stand on the merit of their work, not their mere numbers.

  52. Anthony McCarthy

    49. SLC Says:
    December 7th, 2009 at 5:12 pm

    Re Anthony McCarthy

    It’s Dr. Dawkins.

    He ain’t no M.D. I never called my university teachers or my graduate faculty “Dr.” I’m not about to start that nonsense at this time of my life.

  53. Sven DiMilo

    He ain’t no M.D. I never called my university teachers or my graduate faculty “Dr.” I’m not about to start that nonsense at this time of my life.

    Please explain why it is “nonsense” to refer to somebody with an earned doctorate as “Dr.”
    Then extend your argument to other health professionals who ain’t no M.D.s, such as D.O.s, dentists, and clinical psychologists.

    KBHC @38:

    Even in the last 100 years I can think of a number of major writings by working female scientists that have had lasting effects, or in many cases completely shifted the way we think about our work.

    You named people, not writings.

  54. Gee, Sven, thanks for the correction. That was really important! My deepest apologies.

    The women I named are so famous in my field that their main writings are automatically known. I do understand that this should not be assumed for a non-anthropologist. I just didn’t expect to be asked to provide citations for a blog post comment.

  55. Sigmund

    KBHC, I think you are misreading what Sven is suggesting.
    Nobody in the anthology has had their main writings included. What’s included are essay length pieces that were written for the general public.
    The relevant question here is whether the scientists you have listed have published such pieces and whether those pieces are better than at least some of the currently included texts.

  56. Anthony McCarthy

    I’m not about to call every hack with a PhD “Dr”. I’d rather lose the power of speech before using that for Condi Rice, Henry Kissinger, Jerry Falwell…

    The people who called their teachers “Dr” were, invariably, apple polishers.

  57. SM

    @Anthony McCarthy
    Obviously you know not a damn thing about academic life. We always address people with PhD’s as “Doctor” in my science department, unless we are addressing friends or close acquaintances. It has been the same in the other two universities I attended.
    Address people however you want wherever it is you work, (which obviously is not a university).

  58. Anthony McCarthy

    Obviously you know not a damn thing about academic life. SM

    Maybe they just kiss up more in the sciences than in the humanities. I never called my science professors “Dr” and they never seemed to resent it.

  59. Joe

    I’m just wondering what people would think about an anthology of all women science writers? (I haven’t read all the previous comments so I’m not sure if it’s been mentioned before in this discussion) I think it would be cool, but to tell the truth, I can never tell when people are going to get up in arms about feminist issues. (Maybe arguing that you’re then singling women out as deserving of special treatment or something because they wouldn’t fit into a “normal” anthology – I dunno) I’m just wondering what people’s thoughts on this are?
    Cheers.

  60. Colugo

    I’m surprised that nobody has mentioned Barbara McClintock or Candace Pert.

  61. Nuspirit

    I’m not going state ANY percentage RANGE under 50% and over 3.6% and I’m NOT going to name ANY female scientist (much less an essay of such) that should have been in the book instead of any male scientist included. I furthermore declare my argument coherent and precise. In the name of anti-misogyny, I therefore win.

  62. Sven DiMilo

    The people who called their teachers “Dr” were, invariably, apple polishers.

    Or literalists with a knowledge of Latin.

  63. that is a nice and interesting fact… bt i will not give any percentage to this…

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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.com For more information, visit her website or email Sheril at srkirshenbaum@yahoo.com.

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