A Scientist Since Childhood
Aubrey de Grey, PhD, is Chairman and Chief Science Officer of the Methuselah Foundation. The core of his research is the identification of all forms of cellular and molecular damage whose accumulation contributes to human aging, and the design of interventions to remove, repair, replace, or render harmless all such damage so as to arrest or even reverse the biological aging process. He has published extensively on these and other areas of gerontology in the scientific literature, and is also Editor-in-Chief of the high-impact journal Rejuvenation Research, the only peer-reviewed academic journal focusing on intervention in aging.
Question: What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received?
Aubrey de Grey: I think actually the things that have helped me most in my career have not been so much advice. They’ve been things that happened in very formative ages. First of all I was brought up by my mother as a single parent, and she gave me an enormous really strong desire to learn; desire to understand the world, and specifically, she gave me a very strong desire; I don’t know how she did this, but a very strong desire to understand myself. So I became a scientist largely through introspection; largely through realizing at a relatively young age, maybe even nine or ten that somehow what I wanted to do with my life was to make a difference to the world, and it was easy to move there into an understanding that being a scientist was the most effective way to do that; you know that sort of thing. So it all really came from an early age; so early I can’t really call it advice.
Recorded on: October 2, 2009
Aubrey de Grey recalls how he was inspired by his single mother to pursue a scientific career at a young age.
Science and the squishiness of the human mind. The joys of wearing whatever the hell you want, and so much more.
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A guide to making difficult conversations possible—and peaceful—in an increasingly polarized nation.
- How can we reach out to people on the other side of the divide? Get to know the other person as a human being before you get to know them as a set of tribal political beliefs, says Sarah Ruger. Don't launch straight into the difficult topics—connect on a more basic level first.
- To bond, use icebreakers backed by neuroscience and psychology: Share a meal, watch some comedy, see awe-inspiring art, go on a tough hike together—sharing tribulation helps break down some of the mental barriers we have between us. Then, get down to talking, putting your humanity before your ideology.
- The Charles Koch Foundation is committed to understanding what drives intolerance and the best ways to cure it. The foundation supports interdisciplinary research to overcome intolerance, new models for peaceful interactions, and experiments that can heal fractured communities. For more information, visit charleskochfoundation.org/courageous-collaborations.
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