James Vaupel is the founding director of the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) in Rostock (Germany) and a professor at Duke University, where he also serves as director of the Population, Policy, Aging and Research Center. A mathematician by training who earned his PhD in Public Policy from Harvard University, Dr Vaupel is a leading expert in the fields of ageing, biodemography and formal demography, and has played a key role in the development and advancement of the idea of the plasticity of mortality. In addition to his pioneering studies of the risks associated with the heterogeneity of mortality and fragility and the deceleration of mortality among the very old, Dr Vaupel introduced the theory of heterogeneity, now a basic contextual framework for studies of longevity and the emergence of supercentenarians. He has published prolifically in a number of leading scientific journals and is a member of the US National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the German Academy of Sciences. Before moving into his current position with the MPIDR, Dr Vaupel directed Duke University’s Center on the Demography of Aging and also taught at the University of Southern Denmark.
Viviana Egidi is Full Professor of Health Statistics at the Faculty of Statistics of the University of Rome “Sapienza”. From November 1994 to June 2003 she served as Director of Population and Territory Statistics at the National Institute of Statistics (ISTAT), later the Department of Social Statistics. Professor Egidi has coordinated and directed numerous research projects on applied statistics and the development of innovative statistical methodologies. Over the course of the past 20 years, she and her team have conducted surveys on families and individuals that have greatly enriched the available statistical information on the social sphere. She is author or co-author of over 90 scientific publications. In recent years, her research has centred primarily on the following areas of study: mortality; morbidity and survival in good health; lengthening of life; life conditions among the older population; and methodological problems and strategies for the harmonization of statistical indicators.