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Death in the 21st Century: What is Left Behind

Washington State Convention Center, 705 Pike Street, Seattle, WA


This session will occur at the AAAS Annual Meeting on Sunday, February 16, 2020 from 3:30 - 5:00 PM PT. To attend, please register at the AAAS Meetings website.


Perspectives on death and its aftermath are changing rapidly in the United States and around the world.  It has always been the case that some elements of an individual’s life and legacy endure after their passing.  However, ongoing shifts in culture, including religious values and practices, as well as scientific and technological innovations, suggest that in the 21st Century, what is left behind will have new, profound, and sometimes surprising impacts on families, society, and the environment. Topics to be explored in this session include sustainable burial practices; social and legal dimensions of a digital “afterlife,” and questions of long-term curation, access and use of genetic data, and other health information. In discussing such topics, the aims are to develop socially and scientifically informed policies relating to these issues.


Robert O'Malley, American Association for the Advancement of Science, Washington, DC

Moderator and Discussant

Elizabeth Crocker, American Association for the Advancement of Science, Washington, DC


Lynne Carpenter-Boggs, Washington State University, Pullman, WA

Faheem Hussain, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ

Stephanie Malia Fullerton, University of Washington, Seattle, WA