Immortality-research conference to be webcast June 20–21

June 19, 2014

Preliminary results of scientific research related to immortality — such as phenomena related to near-death experiences, immortality in virtual reality, and genes that prevent a species of freshwater hydra from aging — will be presented at a conference for researchers hosted by The Immortality Project at the University of California, Riverside on June 20–21.

The conference, “The Science of Immortality,” will bring together members of ten international teams that received grants totaling $2.4 million last year from The Immortality Project to collaborate with other researchers about their work in progress.

Although the conference is open only to researchers, the proceedings will be webcast for public viewing.

The Immortality Project is funded with a $5 million grant from the John Templeton Foundation.

Here is the conference schedule:

Friday, June 20

9 a.m. — Welcome, Stephen Cullenberg, dean of the College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences; John Fischer, distinguished professor of philosophy and principal investigator, The Immortality Project

9:15 a.m. —Shahar Arzy, Hadassah Hebrew University, “The Life-Review Experience: phenomenological, psychological and neuroscientific perspectives”

10:30 a.m. — Break

10:45 a.m.: Melanie Nyhof, University of Oxford, and Kelly James Clark, Grand Valley St. University, “Afterlife beliefs and their cognitive mechanisms among the Chinese: Past and Present”

Noon to 1:30 p.m.: Lunch

1:30 p.m.: Kurt Gray, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, “The immortality of morality”

2:45 p.m.: Break

3 p.m.: Daniel Martinez, Pomona College, and Diane Bridge, Elizabethtown College, “Identifying and Characterizing the Genes of Immortality in Hydra”

 Saturday, June 21

9 a.m.: Shaun Nichols, University of Arizona, Tucson, and Jay Garfield, Yale-NUS College, “Death and the Self”

10:15 a.m.: Break

10:30 a.m.: Sam Parnia, M.D., State University of New York, “A Multi-Centre Pilot Study of the Mind, Brain, Consciousness and Near Death Experiences during Cardiac Arrest”

Noon – 1:30 p.m.: Lunch

1:30 p.m.: Ann Taves and Tamsin German, UC Santa Barbara, “The Role of Near-Death Experiences in the Emergence of a Movement: A Quasi-Experimental Field Study of IANDS”

2:45 p.m.: Break

3 p.m.: Tom Pyszczynski, University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, and Jeff Greenberg, University of Arizona, “Religious and Scientific Paths to Immortality: A Clash of Cultures?”

4:15 p.m.: Break

4:30 p.m.: Mel Slater, University of Barcelona, and Maria V. Sanchez-Vives, M.D. of IDIBAPS (Institut d’Investigacions Biomediques August Pi i Sunyer) in Barcelona, “Modeling Immortality in Immersive Virtual Reality”