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Surprising Science

Why Short-Lived Mayflies Have the Right Idea

Neil deGrasse Tyson suggests that longevity isn’t what concerns him so much as living what time he has well.
Mayfly (ZLENG)

You wouldn’t suspect that Neil deGrasse Tyson would have such an unassuming role model, but there it is: The mayfly lives no more than 24 hours, and thinking about that helps the astrophysicist remain focused on his own here and now. It may be extra hard to maintain that focus when you deal with infinity every day at work.

Others scientists are devoted to extending the human life span, but Tyson’s more interested in spending his well. (Give the guy a pass: He’s already got the entire universe on his plate.)

As far as living forever goes, Tyson warns to be careful what you wish for: Having too much time risks taking each moment’s opportunities for granted.


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