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My father: The best fed person in his family


Ageing is a dirty trick
Jeremy Bernstein Scientist
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The thing is that what ageing does is it makes it harder and harder for you to stay fit. That's why it's a dirty trick. I try very hard but if I try too hard, I injure myself. So you have to show some wisdom about keeping fit. I mean, I try, I ride my bicycle in the summer, I try to walk in the winter and so on but, you know, ageing's out to get you and it will. I said to a doctor I go to, a cardiologist. I said, 'Ageing's a linear function of time', I said. He said, 'No it isn't. It's a discontinuous function of time. There are spurts. People go along and then they suddenly age. They stay at a plateau and they go along. So it's a dirty trick but they say it's better than the alternative.' I don't know, I haven't witnessed the alternative. Woody Allen said about the afterlife… they asked whether he believed in the afterlife and he said, 'Well, can you get a good steak there?' I thought that was a pretty good remark.

Born in 1929, Jeremy Bernstein is an American physicist, educator and writer known for the clarity of his writing for the lay reader on the major issues of modern physics. After graduating from Harvard University, Bernstein worked at Harvard and at the Institute of Advanced Studies at Princeton. In 1962 he became an Associate Professor of Physics at New York University, and later a Professor of Physics at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, a position he continues to hold. He was also on the staff of The New Yorker magazine.

Listeners: Christopher Sykes

Christopher Sykes is an independent documentary producer who has made a number of films about science and scientists for BBC TV, Channel Four, and PBS.

Tags: Woody Allen

Duration: 1 minute, 31 seconds

Date story recorded: 15th June 2011

Date story went live: 28 October 2011