National Geographic : 2015 Dec
Why I Love Science and Don’t Mind Aging The world knows Ron Howard by different names—as Opie from The Andy Griffith Show, as Richie Cunningham from Happy Days, and as the Oscar-winning director of films like A Beautiful Mind. On November 29, Howard, 61, comes to the National Geograph- ic Channel with Breakthrough, a documentary miniseries about scientific endeavors on the brink of discovery. The man who grew up in front of the camera directs an episode about aging. Can you imagine a future when humans live 200 years? Yes, but interestingly, the goal isn’t simply to extend life. It’s entirely about the extension of quality time, of years when someone can be highly productive and apply what he or she knows and has learned in a very active way. The research really focuses on delaying the onset of the diseases of aging, like heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and Alzheimer’s. That’s the way to enrich lives. People remember you as a little kid, when you were a child actor [above]. How do you think you’ve aged? [Laughs] Well, I still feel young and full of energy, but there are some aches and pains that I don’t recall from ten, twelve years ago. They’re not just sports injuries; there’s something else going on there. I don’t look ahead to the future as a vast endless one. I’ve begun to feel the calendar pages turning. What draws you to projects grounded in science? I have a lot of curiosity about it. I was a terrible science student, so I could never be a scientist; my mind doesn’t work that way. But I’ve learned to love the stories around science, and I have so much respect and fascination for the people who can make discoveries and find applications. There’s a lot of drama there. nationalgeographic.com/3Q 3 Questions PHOTOS: MARTIN SCHOELLER; EVERETT COLLECTION (YOUNG RON) Watch Breakthrough on the National Geographic Channel on Sundays from November 1 until December 13.