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James W. Vaupel

James W. Vaupel is Executive Director of the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, which was founded under his leadership in 1996. He is also Director of the new Max-Planck Odense Center on the Biodemography of Aging at the University of Southern Denmark and Research Professor at Duke University's Population Research Institute. Educated at Harvard College, Harvard Business School and the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, he is a scientific member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, and the Max Planck Society. He was awarded both of the two highest honors of the Population Association of America, the Taeuber prize (for innovation in biodemography) and the Sheps prize (for developing the mathematics of heterogeneous populations). He won the IPSEN Foundation award as well as the Seneca Medal for his research on longevity.  In 2011 he was awarded the Latsis Prize (researcher of the year) by the European Science Foundation for his contributions to population research.

The Biodemography of Longevity

Human senescence has been delayed by a decade. This finding, documented in 1994 and bolstered since, is a fundamental discovery about the biology of human ageing, and one with profound implications for individuals, society and the economy. Remarkably, the rate of deterioration with age seems to be constant across individuals and over time: it seems that death is being delayed because people are reaching old age in better health. Research by demographers, epidemiologists and other biomedical researchers suggests that further progress is likely to be made in advancing the frontier of survival — and healthy survival — to even greater ages.

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