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Carolyn Abraham

Award-Winning Journalist & Author

Carolyn Abraham is a bestselling author and award-winning journalist who will make you think, laugh and wonder about the scientific advances reshaping our world.

Toronto, Ontario, Canada


Every Genome Tells a Story: Do you want to know yours?
DNA is like no other molecule, a trove of genetic secrets about your past, your present and your future. Decoding it will soon cost less than a pair of designer shoes, and everyone — doctors, employers, insurance companies, identity thieves and yes, even marketers – may want to peek into yours. But do you? With genetic science still in its infancy, how much ambiguity can you live with, how much anxiety?  And how much would you share, even with family members, who also share your DNA? Carolyn Abraham takes a provocative look at the potential and perils of the genomic age ahead.

Who’s Your Daddy? : How DNA Tests can Shake the Family Tree
Tens of thousands of people now use DNA tests to investigate their genealogy, a subject that rivals pornography as one of the most popular on the internet. But as Carolyn learned during a decade of research, DNA may be a powerful portal to the past, but also a dangerous one. As she used genetic tests to solve the mysteries of her own family history, a journey chronicled in her bestseller The Juggler’s Children, Carolyn confronted ugly ethical quandaries but also beautiful lessons for us all. Hear about the story behind the story The Globe and Mail called, “riveting…not just because of its superb writing and suspenseful storyline, but because, in the end, it’s not just about her, it’s about us.”

The Immortal Afterlife of Einstein’s Brain
It’s been the stuff of urban legends, poems, rock songs and science fiction. But the truth is stranger still. For nearly sixty years, the pickled brain of Albert Einstein has roamed the world, travelling by mail, in a mayonnaise jar, sloshing over the border in car trunks, stored under a beer cooler, tucked away in refrigerators, basements, attics and Tupperware. Its itinerant afterlife owes everything to a single man — a thief some say, who stole the brain of one of the world’s greatest minds and got away with it. How did it happen? How did the brain of the Nobel laureate physicist who reshaped our views of space time and the universe somehow slip off the grid? After two years of exclusive interviews with the man who took – and kept – Einstein’s brain, Carolyn discovered the true story is less a crime saga than a bizarre tale about our celebrity-obsessed culture and its endless fascination with genius.

  • I cannot say enough good things about Carolyn. Her talk was informative, humorous, intellectual, and warm. Our audience's interest and attention were piqued- the majority stayed after the presentation to purchased Carolyn's book and collect her autograph. People were so engaged that we had to cut the Q&A off after it had already gone overtime.

    - Stewardship and Engagement Coordinator, Foothills Fetal Alcohol Society
  • Carolyn captured the audience with her natural ability to engage through thought provoking dialogue. Her delivery was warm, humorous and topical. We would gladly have her return for a future conference and would highly recommend Carolyn to any one in need of a professional speaker.

    - V.P. Development iSYS Corporation
  • Carolyn is a truly engaging speaker with a wonderful gift for drawing her audience into her topics. She has a real ability to relate the world of science to individual lives and human experiences.
    Her presentation was both informative and entertaining and it added greatly to the success of our event.

    - Vice-President, Corporate Services and Marketing | Compugen Inc.
  • one of our most popular speakers – because she made us think! Genomics is complicated, but Carolyn effortlessly shed light on its myriad possibilities…Her presentation was knowledgeable, nuanced, accessible and delivered with flair and humour. We’d have her back any day.

    - Chair, Program Committee | Third Age Learning

Summary Profile

The Globe and Mail’s former senior science writer for 14 years, Carolyn has earned wide acclaim for her exploration of medicine’s ethical minefields – genetics, stem cells, the science of race, the brain as a sex organ, designer babies, falling (and rising) sperm counts. Writing from the thorny intersection of science and society, she is a sought-after speaker, appearing at ideacity to talk on the nature of genius, and often as an on-air commentator. Both her books were finalists for the Governor General’s Award for Literary Non-fiction. Her first, Possessing Genius, published in seven countries, tells the true story of the man who took Einstein’s brain.

Her most recent, The Juggler’s Children, named a Best Book of 2013 by Amazon and The Globe and Mail, is a memoir that details her efforts to use DNA tests to solve the mysteries of her own family history. A natural storyteller, Carolyn breathes life into complex subjects in a way that entertains, informs and provokes.