David Ewing Duncan

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David Ewing Duncan talking at the Chautauqua Institution in 2008.

David Ewing Duncan (born 1958) is an American journalist, author and broadcaster with a special emphasis on new discoveries and their implications in biotechnology and the life sciences; he also reports on the environment and on green technologies. His latest book is When I'm 164: The new science of radical life extension, and what happens if it succeeds (TED Books). He lives in San Francisco, California.[1]

Duncan is a member of the San Francisco Writers' Grotto, a workspace co-operative that also includes Po Bronson, Caroline Paul and Tom Barbash, among others.

Early life[edit]

Duncan was born in 1958 in a small rural community outside Kansas City, Kansas.[2] He graduated from Vassar College.[3]

In media[edit]

Duncan is a correspondent for The Atlantic and writes a column for TheAtlantic.com; he also is the Chief Correspondent of public radio's "Biotech Nation" (part of "Tech Nation") heard in 133 countries and on NPR Talk. He also has been a commentator for NPR's Morning Edition.

He is the best-selling author of eight books, published in 20 languages. His most recent book is When I'm 164: The new science of radical life extension, and what happens if it succeeds (TED Books); his last book was the bestseller Experimental Man: What one man's body reveals about his future, your health and our toxic world, based on award-winning articles he wrote for Wired and National Geographic (John Wiley & Sons). Information and updates are available at the Experimental Man Project website.

Duncan's previous books include Masterminds: Genius, DNA and the Quest to Rewrite Life. He also wrote the international bestseller Calendar: Humanity's epic struggle to determine a true and accurate year (Avon), published in 20 languages. He is a former Contributing Editor to Wired, Discover, Conde Nast Portfolio and MIT Technology Review; he writes for National Geographic, Fortune, The New York Times, and Harper's, among many others.

In television, he was a special correspondent and producer for ABC's Nightline, and a correspondent for NOVA ScienceNow! His documentaries have been broadcast on ABC and Discovery Television.

Duncan is a frequent speaker — recent talks include "When I'm 164" at TEDx Brussels and The Experimental Man Project. He appears frequently in the media, including the Today Show and NPR's All Things Considered.

Nonprofit and academia[edit]

Duncan is the founding director of the Center for Life Science Policy at the University of California at Berkeley. He is the founder and former director of The BioAgenda Institute for Life Science Policy, a San Francisco-based nonprofit think-tank that held summits, panels and discussions, and sponsored white papers on important issued in the life sciences between 2003 and 2007. In 2011, he launched The Personalized Health Project, sponsored by The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. He regularly lectures at Singularity University.


Duncan has won the Magazine Story of the Year Award from the American Association for the Advancement of Science. His articles have twice been cited in nominations for National Magazine Awards, and his work has appeared twice in The Best American Science and Nature Writing. He has won numerous other awards.


  • When I'm 164: The new science of radical life extension, and what happens if it succeeds
  • Experimental Man: What one man’s body reveals about his future, your health and our toxic world (2009)
  • Masterminds: Genius, DNA and Quest to Rewrite Life (2005)
  • Calendar: Humanity's Epic Struggle to Determine a True and Accurate Year (1999)
  • Residents: The Perils and Promise of Training Young Doctors (1996)
  • Hernando de Soto: A Savage Quest in the Americas (1996)
  • From Cape to Cairo: An African Odyssey (1989), about a journalist's stint in Africa and riding a bike from Cape Town to Cairo
  • Pedaling the Ends of the Earth (1985), about bicycling around the world
  • *"Life at All Costs" (2010): a Five Part Series Examining End of life Care



External links[edit]