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Why We Die: And How We Live: The New Science of Ageing and Longevity (Hardback)
  • Why We Die: And How We Live: The New Science of Ageing and Longevity (Hardback)
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Why We Die: And How We Live: The New Science of Ageing and Longevity (Hardback)

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Hardback 320 Pages
Published: 19/03/2024
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Waterstones Says

Blending medical science and ethical philosophy, Ramakrishnan's incisive and revelatory study into ageing and mortality draws from the latest cutting-edge research and thinking.

The knowledge of death is so terrifying that we live most of our lives in denial of it. Our fear of death has underpinned our religions, inspired our cultures, and also driven our science. Today we are living through a revolution in biology. Giant strides are being made in our understanding of why we age and die, and why some species live longer than others. Immortality, once a faint hope, has never been more within our grasp.

Here, Nobel Prize-winning biologist Venki Ramakrishnan offers a definitive look at why we die - and whether we can do anything about it. Covering the recent breakthroughs in scientific research, he examines the cutting edge of efforts to extend lifespan by altering our natural biology and how this raises profound questions.

Although we might not like it, might death might serve a necessary biological purpose? And what are the social and ethical costs of attempting to live forever? As science advances, we have much to gain. But might we also have much to lose? Why We Die is a narrative of uncommon insight and beauty from one of our leading public intellectuals.

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
ISBN: 9781529369243
Number of pages: 320
Weight: 540 g
Dimensions: 238 x 160 x 36 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

'Utterly fascinating. Venki Ramakrishnan's ability to take the most challenging subjects and make them clear, enthralling and packed with insights fills me with awe.'

This riveting and revealing book is for all of us who wonder whether ageing and mortality are the next frontiers for human science to cross. Has the first person destined to live of two hundred already been born? Can we really extend our longevity further and further until ... until what? Immortality? Why We Die takes us on a thrilling ride through the science of ageing and death. Meet naked mole rats, lugworms, budding yeast and creepy human charlatans on the way. Venki Ramakrishnan, a Nobel laureate at the very cutting edge of molecular biology has an extraordinary gift for explaining the science behind ageing and death with clarity, wit and enviably entertaining narrative flair. A must read.

"It is rare to find a book that manages to combine science, politics, memoir and medicine with ease, grace and lucidity. Ramakrishnan's book, which comes at a time when the hype and hope around immortality has ascended to a febrile pitch, achieves precisely all of this, while taking readers on an incredible journey that encompasses the knowns and many unknowns that surround the science, mystery and metaphysics of death and dying. This is a book for many generations, about many generations." - Siddhartha Mukherjee

'For a book about death, Venki Ramakrishnan's Why We Die is joyfully alive. The story he tells is one of aging and death, but along the way he covers a huge range of biology, evolution, genetics, chemistry, and medicine. This is science writing at its finest: readable, authoritative, and impactful.'

Why We Die is a crisply written, captivating and clear-eyed view of death, and how to defeat it. From research on starvation diets, young blood and cryonics to the longevity of naked mole rats, Nobelist Venki Ramakrishnan introduces us to a cast of extraordinary characters in his quest to fathom how elastic lifespan could prove to be. I believe Why We Die will be his enduring legacy yet, deep down, suspect most of us would still rather achieve immortality through not dying.

The conquest of premature death has been remarkably successful in the past century. Can we go one better and extend life? This erudite, nuanced and insightful book tells a rich tale of discovery about why we age and die, skewers some charlatans along the way and offers just a glimmer of hope about immortality.

"Why We Die brilliantly captures the essentials of our current understanding of the aging process. This is an enjoyable romp through molecular and cell biology - and thought-provoking about ethical issues."

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“Not just for scientists!”

First of all, don’t be deterred by the science! Not possessing a scientific background, I did anticipate some of the content going over my head, but I was pleasantly surprised by how much I understood, due to the... More

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