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Getting old is an unavoidable truth of life. And yet, for most of modern history this mortal coil has baffled scientists. Over the past decade, however, researchers have made great strides in understanding the cellular, molecular, and genetic tableau of aging—which has brought the next question into sharp focus: Can aging be stopped? While a full answer remains elusive, recent advancements have opened the door for significantly extending the human lifespan. One controversial researcher even claims that the first person who will live 1,000 years has already been born. Mainstream researchers are decidedly more cautious in their predictions, but the prospect of postponing mortality, even in modest ways, raises important ethical, social, and practical questions. How would we control an increasingly out-of-control global population? Does life have meaning without death? Even if we could live forever, would we want to?

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Longevity: A Radical New Science

Getting old is an unavoidable truth of life. And yet, for most of modern history this mortal coil has baffled scientists. Over the past decade, however, researchers have made great strides in understanding the cellular, molecular, and genetic tableau of aging—which has brought the next question into sharp focus: Can aging be stopped? While a full answer remains elusive, recent advancements have opened the door for significantly extending the human lifespan. One controversial researcher even claims that the first person who will live 1,000 years has already been born. Mainstream researchers are decidedly more cautious in their predictions, but the prospect of postponing mortality, even in modest ways, raises important ethical, social, and practical questions. How would we control an increasingly out-of-control global population? Does life have meaning without death? Even if we could live forever, would we want to?

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Moderator

Bill RitterJournalist, TV Anchor, News Correspondent

Bill Ritter is a television news anchor and journalist. He began his journalism career as a newspaper reporter, for the Los Angeles Times and others, before moving into television. His work in local and national television has taken him to political conventions for almost 20 years.

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Participants

Michael RoseEvolutionary Biologist

Michael Rose began his work on the evolution of aging at the University of Sussex in 1976, where he created fruit fly stocks with postponed aging. His 1991 book Evolutionary Biology of Aging offered a view of aging that was a complete departure from the views that had dominated the aging field since 1960.

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Leonard GuarenteMolecular Biologist

Committed to advancing discoveries in the science of aging and longevity, Leonard Guarente is recognized for his impactful contribution in identifying sirtuins, a group of related proteins that slow aging in model organisms and mitigate aging and diseases in mammals.

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Judith CampisiCell Biologist

A pioneer in researching the control of cellular senescence and its role in tumor suppression and aging, Judith Campisi has helped make several groundbreaking discoveries that continue to challenge and alter existing paradigms.

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Aubrey de GreyBiomedical Gerontologist

Biomedical gerontologist Aubrey de Grey’s research interests encompass the characterization of the accumulating and eventually pathogenic molecular and cellular side-effects of metabolism that constitute mammalian aging. His work also involves the design of interventions to repair and/or obviate that damage.

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