Humans have been fascinated by immortality and eternal life for centuries. Immortality is still a big topic in books, movies and games today. For example, there are characters who cannot die, live for hundreds of years or can rise from the dead infinitely often.
But what exactly do we mean by immortality? In some stories they mean freezing your body. In other stories they talk about uploading your brain. And of course not to forget, it can simply grow indefinitely!
But what about in real life? There are organisms that can live incredibly long. Some turtles can live up to 200 years old. Research has also shown that some sponges are up to two thousand years old. Other organisms can survive under unlikely conditions such as the vacuum of space.
What can we learn from this? In this blog we will let you know what is known about this.
Merle Scholten is a biochemistry student and can tell you everything about the smallest building blocks of the body: cells and proteins. Scientists estimate that your body makes about 100,000 different proteins with all kinds of different functions. Merle researches the function of proteins on the outside of your body cells. “Some people don’t understand the point of examining the functions of all those microscopic proteins. But if you know how proteins work in healthy cells, you can use that knowledge to treat diseases in which those proteins no longer work properly! ”
Valerie Derks, a puzzle lover! The logical choice was therefore a bachelor in mathematics. This is where Valerie quickly found out what her favorite puzzle was: how can you transfer math to non-mathematicians? She soon ended up with the master Science Education and Communication. The goal is to make mathematics as accessible as possible, whoever you are or wherever you come from. Valerie is also very interested in artificial intelligence, an important subject in immortality. Hopefully she can get you just as excited about this!
Lorenzo Pattiradjawane is the right person for all your questions about DNA. As a student in molecular and cellular biology, he is particularly interested in how the blueprint of the human body works. “You can think of this blueprint as a very long string of small building blocks called nucleotides. Every cell in your body has three billion. If you put them all one after the other, you would have a string of two meters long. And that fits. every cell in your body! ” He will gladly explain to you how it all works.
Jeanine Barth loves nature and would like to tell people more about it. Biology is really her profession, and she is working on becoming a teacher. She finds many organisms in nature fascinating and likes to look for all kinds of facts. Also about “immortal organisms” such as the immortal jellyfish. You just have to ask and she will look for it.
Translated from Dutch