Jay Ingram

Science Writer & Broadcaster

Jay Ingram

Science broadcaster and writer Jay Ingram was co-host of Discovery Channel's science show, Daily Planet for 16 years. It remains television’s only daily hour-long prime-time science and nature news magazine. Jay joined Discovery in 1994 and was instrumental in helping shape the program format.

From 1979 to 1992, Ingram hosted CBC Radio's Quirks and Quarks and earned two ACTRA Awards, one for Best Host. In 1992 and 1993, Ingram hosted two CBC Radio series: Cranial Pursuits, a series “by, for and about the brain”, and The Talk Show, a series bout language that won a Science in Society Journalism Award.

For 10 years, Jay wrote articles for popular children's publication Owl Magazine. He wrote a weekly science column for the Toronto Star for 12 years, and is currently a columnist for Canadian Wildlife magazine.

Since 2005 he was been Chair of the Science Communications Program at the Banff Centre, a unique undertaking to promote creative science writing, broadcasting and social media. He is also co-founder of Beakerhead, an arts and engineering happening which began in 2013 in Calgary, Alberta.

In 1984, Jay was awarded the Sandford Fleming Medal from the Royal Canadian Institute for his efforts to popularize science, and he also earned the Royal Society of Canada’s McNeil Medal for the Public Awareness of Science in 1997. In 2000, Jay was awarded a Michael Smith Award for Science Promotion by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. He is a Distinguished Alumnus of the University of Alberta, and has received five honorary doctorates. He is a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal and in 2009 he was named to The Order of Canada.

Jay has written thirteen books, three of which have won Canadian Science Writers' Awards and almost all of which have been on the bestseller list. They have been translated into 14 languages. He is the 2015 recipient of the Walter C. Alvarez award for medical writing given by the American Medical Writers Association. Jay is an engaging, provocative speaker who can address complex, scientific issues in non-technical terms, making them interesting, relevant and accessible to a wide range of audiences.


  1. The End of Memory

    lzheimer’s, called ‘the plague of the 21st century’ for its dramatic increase in numbers and the challenge it poses to health care. There are no effective treatments, merely a handful of drugs that promise only short-lived alleviation of symptoms.

    But as familiar as we are with Alzheimer’s disease among friends and family, there are so many questions: where did it come from? Why weren’t we talking about it even fifty years ago? Do we understand what really is going on in the disease? A hundred years ago Alzheimer identified the key markers of the disease, and we still rely on them today. Maybe it’s time for a rethink. And where will we find treatments – and when?

  2. Thinking

    This talk takes apart the option that we are carefully and thoroughly thinking our way through life – that is an illusion!

    Jay makes the case in three parts: first the evidence that the unconscious brain is really doing most of the hard, daily work; the stream of consciousness is, at best, a trickle. There’s all kinds of evidence that much of what we do, even when it comes to making choices and decisions, is not controlled by ‘thinking’, at least the thinking that we are aware we’re engaged in. 

  3. Watson and Crick; Lennon and McCartney

    This is a presentation on creativity. I compare Watson and Crick’s legendary discovery of the structure of DNA to Lennon and McCartney’s (though mostly Lennon’s) “Strawberry Fields Forever”.  Both the similarities and differences between the achievements and these unique partnerships contribute to a picture of how creativity works.

  4. Truth, an Inconvenience

    A commonly held misconception, especially among experts, is that when it comes to scientific controversies, differences of opinion exist only because of ignorance. When people know the science better, they’ll see the ‘truth’. Wrong. Polarized opinions have a social/cultural, not scientific, basis.  

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