• Question: Is immortality possible?

    Asked by Luna-chan to Craig, Devon, Marta, Natalie, Nicholas on 13 Mar 2017.
    • Photo: Marta Varela

      Marta Varela answered on 13 Mar 2017:

      Hi Luna-chan.

      In short, I would say no. I can’t see how we would ever completely be able to ensure that someone would not be able to die from an accident, murder attempt or other very sudden turning off of the brain’s supply of nutrients and oxygen.

      I think we may be able to achieve some form of amortality, when we have developed a way of freezing the ageing process and somehow become immune to cancer, dementia, heart attacks and all the other diseases that now eventually lead to death. That is still a long time away though, of course…

      What are your own thoughts on this? Would you like to be immortal or would that take away your drive to live and make everything boring?

    • Photo: Natalie Doig

      Natalie Doig answered on 14 Mar 2017:

      Hi Luna, it depends on what you mean by immortality. It terms of the stopping the body ageing I think that we do not really understand the normal ageing process so until we do we cannot stop it.
      However, as a neuroscientist I think about the idea of being able to ‘upload’ your mind to a computer then essentially all your thoughts would be preserved somehow. We are not there yet and we also need to consider the ethical issues. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mind_uploading

    • Photo: Nicholas Younger

      Nicholas Younger answered on 14 Mar 2017:


      I don’t know, I think immortality would be scary, all that time…what would you do!? I think from a scientific point of view it’s a very interesting question. I think that immortality is impossible unless we develop complete cures for cancer and the ability to totally modify the DNA.

      I think if someone was going to become immortal they would need to have their DNA changed to modify all of the genes that cause the cell to age. And the easiest (only) way to do this right now would be to do that when the person is just conceived – so is still just a single cell! That way you could disable all of the genes that cause aging and then when the cell grows into a person then all the cells will have the age-promoting proteins disabled.

      I don’t think this would stop aging completely but it’s the only way I can think of doing it just now.