Solving Problems – Someone must do it.
Aubrey de Grey – Solving Huge Problems – Hard, expensive & exhausting but someone must do it.
Conversations that I would have with my wife would be about her work in biology because it was her field and I would understand what she was doing one day to the next.
Marzena Kmiecik: I’m just putting this in on camera.
Yes. So my wife is a biologist, she does study fruit flies. She works specifically on the Biology of South Division so that’s the basic she wants to understand nature which is not really a technology. In other words she is not someone who is driven by the possibilities to manipulate nature or as a result of the knowledge game but I’m a technologist and I never really understand that distinction until this theory in the early 90s when I was having this conversation with my wife and going through this bizarre you know re-evaluation of the idea it being obvious that aging is bad for you and we should try to do something about it really.
It was completely incongruous to me that anyone would not think that and it took a long time for me to come to terms with it and so my wife she’s very proud of me of course. She likes to talk that I’ve done well in the theory and I continue to make a difference but she’s still basically supportive. The other part I didn’t mentioned but it’s not telling that she wouldn’t want to dedicate her own life to it. You know for me it’s easy. I want to say actually for me it’s particularly easy because I’m a spare head of all this and I’m the one who gets all the accusation and all the glory.
The people I really look up to, the people in my team, my company more widely are working just as hard as me and they are just as dedicated and they are just driven by their own passion.
Marzena Kmiecik: What do you say to a young scientist someone who is interested in work as a passion in experiencing the world like…what do you say? How do they stay on course when they have the same realization about it? Maybe then everybody is interested in the same thing yet how do their passion to even change the world?
So every passion, every location is different. Some locations are more main stream than others. Sometimes you are going to have to cope with other people not being interested in what you are doing but sometime it’s going to be worse than that. You are going to have to cope with people oppose to what you are doing which is basically where I am.
Then again you have to ask yourself why you are a scientist in the first place. You know anyone who is smart enough to get a Phd or whatever and go into basic research or direct transitional research. They could easily do all manner of other things that could easily expand their lives and plenty of them are doing tedious stuff and you know do something else what somebody else tells them to do.
So an enormous reason why academic or academics is because they want autonomy, they want that independence and I would resonate with that in fact that’s why I am a scientist really. I’ll tell you that though in some way the scientific career, an enormous scientific career is just like any other career competing with other people for promotion or for money or whatever .
The competition often involves doing a lot of stuff that’s really tedious and it got some sciences involve and you know writing applications again, again and again and doing really tedious mind numbing stuff just to know the way the wheel is turning. So you know there is a lot of things that people have to rose into the view upon.
I was talking to one of my colleagues recently a professor in New York states who lamenting how many Phd students are taking along. You know we take on far too many in the sense that a very small proportion of them these days get through to actually become professor and the thing is all of them come in, they do a Phd, they know it’s hard work, they know they’re going to be paid very poorly. They do it on the basis of the expectation that they will become professor so we’re kind of just leading them.
Marzena Kmiecik : So talk to me about money. I’ve heard that initial investment, investing in your own company. I want you to talk about foundation was from your family, from your mom.
No, not recently.
Marzena Kmiecik: Okay. I want to ask you in terms of what you’re trying to serve are huge and it requires that. How does somebody with a huge problem, how do you do that right?
Right. So I started out where I really had to put together the essence of the ideas that were necessary. Just I was talking about the same thing online. I was going to conferences and get familiar, so by meeting people who had complimentary skills.
There was one guy who I came across in 2002, a business man from Virginia with whom I eventually created the following year the foundation. We had very little money to make but we thought we made much. It was actually $5000 if I remember rightly that he was able to inject but what we did was bare we didn’t research because obviously research caused a lot more than that.
We created a prize form with prize competition for breaking the world record longevity Mars and this was a kind of in the profile of longevity research getting people more interested in it than they were not really interested in a science or in going to some details. It was pretty successful we earned quite a lot of money and that was how we were able to start doing repair.
In 2006 we got a really big in terms of sale. Each giving us a million dollar a year in that time, it’s gone up and down since then and that was the last it became the number one then a very long time. I also brought in smaller donations as well. We eventually had someone in the same kind of level with each other and then the donation to me we were talking about was actually in 2012.
So my mother died in 2011 and she left me to have in London which awfully a lot of money, I left with my wife assigned to charity with an amount of inheritance tax. I kept a couple million of which I would have to buy a nice house but basically I assigned most of it to the charity and very well spend. We made the decision to spend it over a period of 5 years. So that is nearly over now it’s just about a year left but those 5 years yes it worked out very nicely. We got a whole bunch of things done with a valuable amount of work being done.
Marzena Kmiecik: Yeah and I was going to ask you. In respect to the advancement what did that money actually take you? How far along?
So it’s a bit difficult to put any kind of sensible concrete answer to the question, how far along. There is so many paths that we are travelling in parallel. We kind of look at the individual project and say the project deliver what we have at word most of them did. You know we had demographic project for example, we worked with a group in Denver who had a forecasting package that we wanted them to extend and make more versatile.
So like we look at a scenario and put it under complete control then some people were incapable of looking at but the thing about it has developed over a period of 30 years which was very respected by the United Nations, France and so on and without that people were taking notice of the results actually and that’s how they fail and we needed that so that would finish a couple months ago it is supposed to be published.
We funded a project on therapy to make Mars more modifiable so that we could actually basically do more therapy on Mars and eventually so a lot of project that where we initiate anyway it didn’t make it.