10 of the World’s Most Groundbreaking Futurists


Aubrey de Grey

Centuries ago, the Spanish explorer Ponce de Leon sought a mythical fountain of youth, whose waters were believed to reverse the ravages of old age. Today, the British-born de Grey predicts a future in which we'll be able to actually achieve that, by altering our bodies at the cellular and molecular level to repair damage or even prevent the changes associated with aging. Not only that, but he's helping to lead research efforts to accomplish the dream of a human lifespan that would be vastly longer than it is now.

The Cambridge University alumnus started out in computer science, but then switched to the emerging field of biogerontology. De Grey has sketched out an actual plan for rejuvenating the human body, which he calls Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence (SENS), which breaks the phenomenon of aging into seven specific classes of damage, and identifies detailed approaches for addressing each. De Gray now heads the SENS Foundation, a nonprofit organization that promotes research, and is editor-in-chief of Rejuvenation Research, a peer-reviewed scientific journal [source: SENS Foundation]. In a 2010 interview with the Guardian, a British newspaper, de Grey said that he believes the human lifespan eventually will be extended to 1,000 years, and estimated that there is a 30 to 40 percent chance that the first person to live for a millennium is already walking on the planet [source: Smith].