Why do we die? The latest on aging and immortality from a Nobel Prize-winning scientist

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Jessica DuLong

Published April 9, 2024

Since time immemorial, humans have done their darnedest to try and cheat death. Today, as revolutionary advancements transform the stuff of science fiction into everyday reality, are we closer to extending our lifespan or even perhaps immortality?

If so, do we really want eternal life? In his new book, “Why We Die: The New Science of Aging and the Quest for Immortality,” Nobel Prize-winning molecular biologist Venki Ramakrishnan sifts through past and cutting-edge research to uncover the aspirational theories and practical limitations of longevity. Along the way, he raises critical questions about the societal, political and ethical costs of attempts to live forever.

Already, humans live twice as long as we did 150 years ago due to increased knowledge about diseases and their spread. Does that suggest interventions to triple or quadruple our lifespan lie just around the corner? Ramakrishnan shares his perspectives on the realities of aging, death and immortality.