What is gerontology?

Question: What do you do?

Aubrey de Grey: The best way to describe what I do as a biologist is to start by describing what I don’t do. Because there’s one big thing that nearly all biologists do that I don’t do which is experiments. I don’t have my own laboratory. I never have had. I don’t even have training in experimental work. So I work as what, in physics, would be called a theoretician – a theoretical biologist. I bring my ideas together. I take the ideas and the results that other people have generated in the laboratory, and I come up with new proposals for experiments … both experiments to understand aging better, and also experiments to combat aging. And I … I’m able to do this in a manner that experimental biologists are less able to do simply because I have more time. Because experiments are very time consuming. Just the same way that in physics, there are a lots of people who do that – who spend their time bringing ideas together, and who work symbiotically with the experimentalists – that should be the same with biology. In biology, however, it turns out that very, very few people work on the synthesis side. And actually that’s one of the big reasons that I chose to go into the field, because I felt I could make a big contribution simply because there were so few other people trying to do the same thing.

 

 

 

Gerontology is the study of aging, something that Aubrey sees as treatable.

​There are two kinds of failure – but only one is honorable

Malcolm Gladwell teaches "Get over yourself and get to work" for Big Think Edge.

Big Think Edge
  • Learn to recognize failure and know the big difference between panicking and choking.
  • At Big Think Edge, Malcolm Gladwell teaches how to check your inner critic and get clear on what failure is.
  • Subscribe to Big Think Edge before we launch on March 30 to get 20% off monthly and annual memberships.
Keep reading Show less

The culprit of increased depression among teens? Smartphones, new research suggests.

A new study, led by psychologist Jean Twenge, points to the screen as the problem.

A teenager eyes her smartphone as people enjoy a warm day on the day of silence, one day prior to the presidential elections, when candidates and political parties are not allowed to voice their political meaning on April 14, 2018 in Kotor, Montenegro. Citizens from Montenegro, the youngest NATO member, will vote for a new president on Sunday 15 2018. (Photo by Pierre Crom/Getty Images)
Surprising Science
  • In a new study, adolescents and young adults are experiencing increased rates of depression and suicide attempts.
  • The data cover the years 2005–2017, tracking perfectly with the introduction of the iPhone and widespread dissemination of smartphones.
  • Interestingly, the highest increase in depressive incidents was among individuals in the top income bracket.
Keep reading Show less
Photo by Alina Grubnyak on Unsplash
Mind & Brain

Do human beings have a magnetic sense? Biologists know other animals do. They think it helps creatures including bees, turtles and birds navigate through the world.

Keep reading Show less