Ottawa's Festival of Ideas Since 1997

Jo Marchant

Jo Marchant
Photo by Poppy Merchant

Jo Marchant, PhD, is an award-winning journalist, speaker and author of the New York Times bestseller Cure: a journey into the science of mind over body (2016). Her writing explores the nature of humanity and our universe, from the science of the mind-body connection and the mysteries of past civilisations to the awesome power of the night sky.

She has written extensively on how we can use our minds to improve our health, using techniques from mindfulness and virtual reality to drug-free medicines. She is also fascinated by how human societies through history have made sense of the world, with articles investigating ancient enigmas such as cave paintings, pyramids, hidden manuscripts and lost technology. Her latest book, The Human Cosmos , tells the story of humanity’s relationship with the night sky and the universe beyond.

Jo trained as a scientist: she has a PhD in genetics and medical microbiology from St Bartholomew’s Hospital Medical College in London, and an MSc in Science Communication from Imperial College London. She previously worked as a senior editor at New Scientist and at Nature, and her articles have appeared in publications including The New York Times, The Guardian and Smithsonian magazine.

Her radio and TV appearances include BBC Radio 4’s Start the Week and Today programmes, NPR’s Fresh Air, CNN and National Geographic. She has captivated live audiences around the world, including at the Royal Institution in London, the Hay Festival, the Edinburgh Science Festival, the Getty Villa in Los Angeles, the Aspen Ideas Festival and the Dutch-Flemish Institute in Cairo (for more on speaking events please click here).

Jo’s other books are Decoding the Heavens: Solving the mystery of the world’s first computer , shortlisted for the 2009 Royal Society Prize for Science Books, and The Shadow King: The bizarre afterlife of King Tut’s mummy (2013), described by The Guardian as “luminous and illuminating”.

Writers Festival Appearances