In this episode I talk to Professor Tom Kirkwood. Tom is a biologist who for several decades has been a leading figure in the study of aging - how and why we age.
He has published several books, including Time of Our Lives: The Science of Human Aging and The End of Age: Why Everything About Aging Is Changing. In 2001 he gave the annual Reith Lectures.
I asked Tom to be a guest on the podcast because I’d read some of his papers and books about the science of aging, and found them completely fascinating. They made me look at ageing in a completely different way. Most people think that our bodies are somehow ‘programmed to decline and die’, and that this is why we age, but as you’ll hear Tom explain, it’s actually the opposite - our bodies are programmed to survive. This has some amazing consequences for aging and how we might look to improve the quality of people’s lives in the future.
Our increasing life spans also raises some fundamental ethical, cultural and political questions about the attitudes we should have towards old age and old people.
I hope you enjoy our conversation. Please follow or subscribe to this podcast, and do share it with anyone you think might like it!