• “I’m not afraid of dying, I just don’t want to be there when it happens.”

Woody Allen

  • “Do not try to live forever. You will not succeed.”

George Bernard Shaw

  • “We can live forever, a minute at a time.”


The Immortality Institute is a nonprofi organization with the mission “to conquer the blight of involuntary death.” The organization hosts an online forum, publishes books, creates films, and sponsors conferences in order to advance life extension research. It is supported by donations and the membership fees it charges, monthly, annually, or through a lifetime membership. It encompasses gathering all information together that could contribute towards avoiding death. This film by the Immortality Institute that explores various aspects of extreme life extension including cryonics (cryogenics), caloric restriction, transhumanism, and other scientific pursuits of extreme life extension. The desire to overcome death is nothing new. The ‘Epic of Gilgamesh’ – the first recorded story of human history – accounts on clay tablets a mythical kings quest for immortality. 4000 years later humans are still searching for immortality. With the modernization of haelth care encouraged by biotechnology and computer science, remarkable gains have been made in extending human life spans. A child born today can expect to live more than three times longer than in the time of Gilgamesh. Stemm cells, caloric restriction, cryonics, nanotechnology and transhumanism have become the watchwords of our aera. Perhaps with the accumulation of these accelerating advancements we are indeed on the verge of a complete reversal of the biological aging process – regenerative medicine in our lifetimes. And if so, if we are able to overcome aging and then live forever, what will this mean for religion? What will this mean for governments and social systems, wich relay on a noble and time their death? Perhaps once we have conquered aging, we’ll no longer even wish to stay as vulnerable humans. Perhaps we’ll expedite our progression from immortal beings into cyborgs and then to completely post-human entities. But now there are more pressing questions: What about the environment, oppression by the wealthy over the poor, the problem of overpopulation? What about boredom with a life that stretches out forever and even more harmoneous: What if the universe would end itself in a ‘wimper’, a long expanding heat death into the infinite. If so, what’s the point in trying to live forever anyway? Well, it’s impossible to answer all of these questions within one documentary. We can provide a glimps, a brief snapshot in time from the voices of the visionaries of the forefront. Join us as we take this amazing journey. “Exploring Life Extension”.

Edward Witten
Edward Witten
Edward Witten (born August 26, 1951) is an American mathematical physicist, Fields Medalist, and professor at the Institute for Advanced Study. He is one of the world’s leading researchers in string theory (as the founder of M-theory) and quantum field theory. Witten is widely admired among his peers. This includes the renown 20th century geometer, Sir Michael Atiyah, who said of Witten, “Although he is definitely a physicist, his command of mathematics is rivaled by few mathematicians… Time and time again he has surprised the mathematical community by his brilliant application of physical insight leading to new and deep mathematical theorems… he has made a profound impact on contemporary mathematics. In his hands physics is once again providing a rich source of inspiration and insight in mathematics.” He also appeared in the list of TIME magazine’s 100 most influential people of 2004. He was mentioned in a 1999 episode of the cartoon Futurama. Witten has the highest h-index of any living physicist.
he h-index is an index suggested in 2005 by Jorge E. Hirsch of the University of California, San Diego to quantify the scientific productivity of physicists and other scientists based on their publication record. The index is calculated based on the distribution of citations received by a given researcher’s publications. Hirsch writes: A scientist has index h if h of his/her Np papers have at least h citations each, and the other (Np – h) papers have at most h citations each. In other words, a scholar with an index of h has published h papers with at least h citations each.The index is designed to improve upon simple measures such as the total number of citations or publications, to distinguish truly influential physicists from those who simply publish many papers; the index is also less sensitive to single papers that have many citations. The index works best for comparing scientists working in the same field; citation conventions differ among different fields. The h-index is calculable using free Internet databases and serves as an alternative to more traditional impact factor metrics which are available for a fee. Because only the most highly cited articles contribute to the h-index, its determination is a speedy process. Hirsch has demonstrated that h has high predictive value for whether or not a scientist has won honors like National Academy membership or the Nobel Prize. In physics, a moderately productive scientist should have an h equal to the number of years of service while biomedical scientists tend to have higher values.
It is not difficult to come up with situations in which h may provide misleading information about a scientist’s output. Most importantly the fact that h is bounded by the total number of publications means that scientists with a short career are at an inherent disadvantage, regardless of the importance of their discoveries. For example, Evariste Galois’ h-index is 2, and will remain so forever. Had Albert Einstein died in early 1906, his h index would be stuck at 4 or 5, despite him being widely acknowledged as one the greatest physicists ever to have lived. Proposals to modify the h-index in order to emphasize different features have been made.
Based on the SPIRES HEP Database (Particle and High energy Physics, As of August 2005,):

  • Edward Witten: h = 132
  • John Ellis: h = 101
  • Steven Weinberg: h = 88
  • Dimitri Nanopoulos: h = 86
  • Cumrun Vafa: h = 85
  • Nati Seiberg: h = 84
  • Howard Georgi: h = 77
  • John Schwarz: h = 75
  • Frank Wilczek: h = 68
  • Lenny Susskind: h = 68
  • Mark Wise: h = 67
  • David Gross: h = 66
  • Andrew Strominger: h = 66
  • Roman Jackiw: h = 66
  • Stephen Hawking: h = 62
  • Joseph Polchinski: h = 58
  • Abdus Salam: h = 58
  • Tom Banks: h = 56
  • Sheldon Glashow: h = 53
  • Neil Turok: h = 50
  • Juan Maldacena: h = 49
  • Anthony Zee: h = 49
  • Michael Green: h = 44
  • Michael Peskin: h = 41
  • Gerard ‘t Hooft: h = 41
  • Alexander Polyakov: h = 38
  • Lisa Randall: h = 38
  • Steve Shenker: h = 36
  • Paul Frampton: h = 35
  • David Politzer: h = 34
  • Lee Smolin: h = 33
  • Brian Greene: h = 32
  • Shamit Kachru: h = 31
  • Eva Silverstein: h = 24
  • Richard Feynman: h = 23
  • Michio Kaku: h = 22
  • Gerald Cleaver: h = 20
  • Paul Dirac: h = 19