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‘Rethinking Mortality’ Series at Academy to Explore Frontier of Life and Death

The Nour Foundation, the New York Academy of Sciences, and Wisconsin Public Radio's nationally-syndicated program, To the Best of Our Knowledge, present a riveting new four-part series on the boundaries between life and death.

Published September 26, 2013

NEW YORK, September 26, 2013—Remarkable advances in resuscitation medicine—the science that is bringing people back to life—are increasingly blurring the boundaries between life and death. Beginning in October, a four-part series on Rethinking Mortality: Exploring the Boundaries between Life and Death will bring together leading experts at the crossroads of emergency medicine and neuroscience, psychology and law, and anthropology and philosophy to explore this new frontier at the intersection of life and death, and its profound implications for how we approach and understand our mortality from scientific, ethical, and spiritual perspectives.

Presented by The Nour Foundation, The New York Academy of Sciences, and Wisconsin Public Radio's nationally-syndicated program, To the Best of Our Knowledge (TTBOOK), the series will be moderated by Steve Paulson, journalist and executive producer of TTBOOK.

"It's not just that death is something we all face; it's time for a new reckoning with mortality," says Paulson. "Recent advances in medicine and changing social attitudes about what a 'good death' might look like are raising new questions about death and dying. There are also profound scientific and spiritual questions at stake, especially as we try to understand extraordinary occurrences such as near-death experiences."

Events in the series include:

Reversing Death: The Miracle of Modern Medicine
On October 9, experts in emergency medicine and neurosurgery highlight key discoveries in resuscitation science that are helping to bring back those on the brink of death, as well as the ethical dilemmas that arise during medical crises. Panelists include professor of emergency medicine Lance Becker, MD; professor of neurological surgery Stephan A. Mayer, MD, FCCM; and director of resuscitation research Sam Parnia, MD, PhD.

Prolonging Life: Legal, Ethical, and Social Dilemmas
On November 12, panelists examine the delicate question of whether medical and financial resources should be used to prolong the lives of patients suspended between life and death. Attorney Barbara Coombs Lee, PA, FNP, JD; organ transplant specialist Sam Shemie, MD; and ethicist Mildred Z. Solomon, EdD, weigh the legal, ethical, and social implications of this ongoing debate.

Experiencing Death: An Insider's Perspective
On December 11, orthopedic surgeon, drowning survivor, and author Mary Neal, MD, joins neuropsychiatrist Peter Fenwick, MBBCh, DPM, and neurologist and author Kevin Nelson, MD, to discuss the enduring question of what happens when we die. Can "out of body" or "near-death" experiences be explained? What can be learned from the accounts of those who have nearly died?

Confronting Mortality: Faith and Meaning across Cultures
On February 5, experts in psychology, philosophy, and sociology come together to share a multicultural perspective on death, dying, and what lies beyond. How do cultural, social, and personal beliefs influence the way in which we perceive and ultimately experience our mortality? Panelists include philosopher John Martin Fischer, PhD; sociologist and author Allan Kellehear, PhD; and psychologist and author Lani Leary, PhD.

To learn more about the series, visit

Media must RSVP to Diana Friedman (; 212-298-8645).

About the New York Academy of Sciences

The New York Academy of Sciences is an independent, not-for-profit organization that since 1817 has been committed to advancing science, technology, and society worldwide. With 25,000 members in 140 countries, the Academy is creating a global community of science for the benefit of humanity. The Academy's core mission is to advance scientific knowledge, positively impact the major global challenges of society with science-based solutions, and increase the number of scientifically informed individuals in society at large. Please visit us online at

About The Nour Foundation

The Nour Foundation is a public charitable and nongovernmental organization in special consultative status to the United Nations Economic and Social Council. Founded in 1985, the Foundation adopts a multidisciplinary and integrative approach to exploring expressions of meaning and commonality in human experience, with the aim of engendering a greater spirit of unity, tolerance, and understanding among human beings worldwide. Please visit us online at

About To the Best of Our Knowledge

To the Best of Our Knowledge is a Peabody Award-winning radio show produced at Wisconsin Public Radio and syndicated by Public Radio International. Each week TTBOOK cracks open the world of ideas, featuring in-depth interviews with renowned scientists, writers, artists, scholars, and visionaries. Please visit us online at