This week, a group of scientists in Palo Alto, CA announced they are offering a $1,000,000 prize to the first person who can end aging.
Mankind has wanted to discover a fountain of youth for thousands of years. Many say it’s a pipe dream. But some scientists today disagree. Aubrey de Grey of the SENS Research Foundation believes that we will one day be able to not only stop aging, but even reverse it. He sees a future where we can choose the age we exist at for the rest of our lives.
And in 2013, futurist and Google advisor Ray Kurzweil made the very specific prediction that “We’ll get to a point about 15 years from now where we’re adding more than a year, every year, to your life expectancy… Immortality is in our grasp.”
In France, however, a team of researchers just released a study which says there is a “biological barrier” to living forever. They looked at two groups of people with exceptionally long lives-- supercentenarians (those who live up to or beyond 110) and Olympic athletes. From 1899 to 1996, the longevity of both groups steadily increased. But in 1997 the longevity rate hit a ceiling and hasn’t risen since, despite all the new advancements in health care.
Whether or not ending aging is possible, hopefully the new research will help people live healthier and longer. According to one of the prize’s sponsors, Joon Yun, “The aim of the prize is to catalyze… revolution [in research].” So far, 11 teams from all around the world have signed up to take on this unique challenge.