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Long for This World: The Strange Science of Immortality

Jonathan Weiner.
Publisher Ecco  
Format hardcover
Product Dimensions 9.25 x 6.25 x 1.1 inches
ISBN 9780060765361
Pages/Publication Date 310/2010
Daedalus Item Code 13799
This item is not available.
Pulitzer Prize–winning science writer Jonathan Weiner offers this fast-paced and astonishing scientific adventure story: has the long-sought secret of eternal youth at last been found? In the 20th century alone, average life expectancy increased by more than 30 years, and today a motley array of scientists, researchers, and entrepreneurs believe that another, bigger leap is at hand. Weiner traces the fascinating history of the quest for longevity in art, science, and literature, and meets with leading intellectuals in the field who view aging as a curable disease.

"The promise of eternal youth is both tantalizingly close and far-fetched in this fascinating primer on longevity research. Pulitzer Prize–winning science writer Weiner focuses on amateur gerontologist and oddball visionary Aubrey de Grey, a charismatic motormouth who has won a respectful scientific hearing for his argument that we will soon achieve life spans of thousands of years. (His immortality program starts with the removal of a gunky cellular buildup called lipofuscin.) Weiner takes readers on an engrossing tour of cutting-edge research, while citing established life-cycle experts like Shakespeare and Yeats, and he has a knack for translating science into evocative metaphor. He tempers the 'prolongevist' optimism with some daunting reality: evolution never engineered humans to last forever, the body's myriad modes of decay may make that goal impossible, and reaching it, he speculates, might render us morbidly averse to risk or even to having children. Weiner's erudite, elegant exposition of the underlying science is stimulating yet sobering."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

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