Science has a lot to say about life and death. Doctors can carry out an autopsy before the deceased starts to decompose, to establish the cause of death. Forensic scientists collect evidence after a homicide. Does being dead mean that your heart stops beating or your brain stops being conscious? Your body is just a machine to carry your brain around, but if you are in a coma you can be pronounced 'brain dead', even though your heart and lungs keep working, a bit like a zombie. And when you die, what about the afterlife..?

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The Immortalists - can science defeat death?

In his new book Heavens on Earth, founding editor of Skeptic magazine Michael Shermer explores humanity’s obsession with the afterlife and the quest for immortality – find out about the extraordinary people he met trying to cheat death.

The people who help you die better

A network of compassionate volunteers caring for their terminally ill neighbours is helping more people in Kerala, India, to end their days at peace and at home. Jeremy Laurance meets the man leading the movement.

How should you grieve?

The pain and sorrow of bereavement is supposed to get easier to bear as time passes. But what if it doesn’t? Psychiatrists call it ‘complicated grief’ – and it can be treated. Andrea Volpe reports.