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Why We Die

By: Venki Ramakrishnan
Narrated by: John Moraitis
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Publisher's Summary

A major exploration of the science of why and how we age and die - from a Nobel Prize-winning biologist and former president of the Royal Society.

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.

©2024 Venki Ramakrishnan (P)2024 Hodder & Stoughton Limited

Critic Reviews

'I have so enjoyed reading this spectacular book - it's full of hope and fun and extraordinary research. It beautifully answers the question at the core of every life. Understanding why we must die helps us understand how we must live. It changed my perspective on the whole living world but most of all myself and the time I have left.' (Chris van Tulleken, bestselling author of Ultra-Processed People)
"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)
"Why We Die is a candid, wide-ranging, and hype-free survey of the latest in longevity research, from tortoises to telomeres. With his delightful gift for storytelling, Venki Ramakrishnan breathes life into the biology of death. If you want to know what science tells us about lifespan, Why We Die is the only book you need." (Safi Bahcall, bestselling author of Loonshots: Nurture the Crazy Ideas That Win Wars, Cure Diseases, and Transform Industries)
'A wide-ranging look at the changes that take place inside our cells as we age, the prospects for being able to prevent them, and the possible consequences of doing that. An engrossing read.' (Sarah Gilbert - creator of Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine)

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