I’m ridiculously excited to announce: I’m writing a book!
It’s about the biology of ageing, and how we can use science to turn back the clock.
We all know that as we get older lots of things change in our bodies: our skin wrinkles, we get slower and weaker, our hearing and sight aren’t quite as good as they used to be and, worst of all, our risk of all kinds of diseases—cancer, heart disease, dementia, even flu—increases with sobering rapidity. As a scientist, this is intriguing: what’s going on in our biology to cause all of these terrible things to happen in surprising synchrony?
The sum of these consequences is enormous, both for individuals and for society. Ageing comes for us all: our parents, our friends and loved ones and eventually, us. We try our best to help as those around us deteriorate, losing their independence, dealing with pain, loss or arduous medical treatment. And these personal costs stack up: as the global population ages, all this has a vast and increasing price tag, emotionally and economically.
But there’s good news—maybe even a revolution—quietly brewing in biology. As we understand ever more about the ageing process, it’s becoming clear that there are things we can do about it, to slow it down, or even reverse its ravages. This isn’t just some arcane scientific challenge to catalogue molecules or understand the workings of cells—the ability to treat the ageing process as easily as we treat infectious diseases would utterly transform how we think about prevention and treatment in medicine.
Ageing is the reason I moved from physics into biology. Treating the ageing process itself, rather than the diseases like cancer and heart disease which are its consequences could allow us to create treatments which prevent many or even all of these diseases simultaneously. And this isn’t sci-fi: scientists are making this happen in labs around the world, right now. I can’t wait to turn all this amazing science into a book.
It’s being published by Bloomsbury in the UK and Commonwealth and Doubleday in the US, and we’ve sold translation rights to China, Italy, Portugal and Romania so far.
All of this means I need to get writing…the clock is ticking! I’ve got until the end of June 2019 which, all being well, means it should be in bookshops sometime in 2020. There’s also a short piece about it on publishing news site The Bookseller.
Watch this space for updates!