The Science of Kissing in SciAm MIND

By Sheril Kirshenbaum | October 29, 2010 11:49 am

mind_2010-11With just over two months until The Science of Kissing’s debut (publication date has moved up to Jan 5), my book’s been mentioned in the brand new issue of Scientific American MIND by Ferris Jabr:

No matter how old and experienced we get, sex and romance never fail to surprise and perplex us. Three new books explore the origins of human sexuality, whether we are capable of monogamy, and why we kiss.


In The Science of Kissing: What Our Lips Are Telling Us (Grand Central Publishing, 2011), biologist and science journalist Sheril Kirshenbaum explores all aspects of a lip lock. For instance, women usually require a kiss to feel intimate with another person, whereas men are more willing to forgo the first kiss and go straight for sex. Although scientists don’t know why we kiss, Kirshenbaum explores several possibilities, such as that kissing rekindles the intimacy we first experienced in infancy when breastfeeding.

It’s exciting as an author to see the first nod to a project that has taken years of research, experimentation, and composition. Feels surreal knowing SoK’s nearly available to share with readers! More coming soon…

(In the meantime, flip through the book’s brand new gallery website!)


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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 For more information, visit her website or email Sheril at


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