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Town Hall Seattle: Science Series

Town Hall’s Science series is dedicated to understanding the world around us. Whether we’re hearing from a legendary physicist or a UW graduate student, the Science series explores math, biology, chemistry, the environment, and so much more.

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May 7, 2018

How to live well, even joyously, while accepting our mortality is a vitally important philosophical challenge. Author and cellular immunologist Barbara Ehrenreich shared insight from her latest book Natural Causes: An Epidemic of Wellness, the Certainty of Dying, and Killing Ourselves to Live Longer, and tackled the seemingly unsolvable problem of how we might better prepare ourselves for the end—while still reveling in the lives that remain to us.

We tend to believe we have agency over our bodies, our minds, and even over the manner of our deaths. But Ehrenreich shared the latest science which shows that the microscopic sub-units of our bodies make their own “decisions,” and not always in our favor. Ehrenreich was joined onstage in conversation with KUOW’s Ross Reynolds. Together they delve into the cellular basis of aging and showed how little control we actually have over it, starting with the mysterious and seldom-acknowledged tendency of our own immune cells to promote deadly cancers. Ehrenreich described how we over-prepare and worry way too much about what is inevitable. Join Ehrenreich and Reynolds for thoughtful considerations of the aging process (and our control over it) and the offer of an entirely new understanding of our bodies, ourselves, and our place in the universe.

Barbara Ehrenreich is the author of over a dozen books, including the New York Times bestseller Nickel and Dimed. She has a PhD in cellular immunology from Rockefeller University and writes frequently about health care and medical science, among many other subjects.

Ross Reynolds is the Executive Producer of Community Engagement at KUOW. He creates community conversations such as the Ask A events, and occasionally produces arts and news features. He is the former co-host of KUOW’s daily news magazine The Record and KUOW’s award–winning daily news–talk program The Conversation.

Recorded live at Seattle First Baptist Church by Town Hall Seattle on Wednesday, May 2, 2018.