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Surprising Science

The Future of Immortality

Biomedical gerontologist Aubrey de Grey wants to reverse the aging process, enabling people to lead long, very long, active lives. He believes immortality is within our grasp. 

What’s the Latest Development?

In an interview given in Cambridge, England, gerontologist and advocate of anti-aging science Aubrey de Grey says that immortality is within our grasp, possibly even within his lifetime: “I focus on the fact that every day that I bring the defeat of aging forward, I’ll have saved 100,000 lives (that’s the number of people who die every day at present from causes that young adults rarely die of). That’s pretty good motivation, whether or not I’m one of the people in question.” While de Grey gives about 50 lectures a year, the hard science behind his speculations can be found in his book, Ending Aging

What’s the Big Idea?

As a society, is immortality something we should wish for? In response to concerns about overpopulation, should be we all live to be 200, de Grey says: “There are plenty of ways to keep population down even if we don’t let old people get sick—we could kill every other baby, for example. I hope you see my point: old people are people too. If we reject ageism, we are, inescapably, morally obliged to do our best to keep them healthy just as we do for the young, both by applying existing medicine and by developing medicine that does not yet exist.”


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