Topics: Cryonics, Cryobiology, Cryogenics Pages: 6 (1237 words) Published: April 21, 2014

Discovering Cryogenics

Brandon Ryan
Honors English 102
M,W,F 10:00-10:50
Myth and urban legends have been around as far as man mankind can remember. An legend can be described as an entertaining story or piece of information of uncertain source that is circulated as though true. In the legend of Walt Disney death it’s said that they used cryogenics to preserve his head. Walt Disney was diagnose with terminal lung cancer and was going to have to face death a young age. So he wanted to preserve his head so that later in life when there was a cure for cancer they could bring him back to live and cure him to do this cryogenics was his only option. Cryogenics was a new form of science that has just come about and people were very skeptic on, being since it was such an outrageous thought at the time. However, no one knows to this day whether if it true or not. Cryogenics refers to the branches of physics and engineering that study very low temperatures, how to produce them, and how materials behave at those temperatures. Cryogenics is all about temperatures below -150 degrees Celcuis. One of the most amazing applications of cryogenic processing is cryonics is where the human body is exposed to cryogenic treatment in order to preserve it after death. In the United States of America, there are, currently, two organizations that offer cryogenic treatment for human bodies: The Cryonics Institute in Clinton Township, Michigan and Alcor in Scottsdale, Arizona. Once death sets in, the patient’s bodies are preserved in chemicals designed to theoretically protect cellular structure, before being lowered into steel tubes of liquid nitrogen, called dewars. Here they will be kept in ‘cold storage’ at negative 196 degrees celcuis in the hope that someday in the future they may be brought back to life. There are currently 147 people in cryogenic suspension, with another 1,000 members signed up for the deep freeze. In 1940, pioneer biologist Basil Luyetpublished a work titled "Life and Death at Low Temperatures" in which he observed that while many organisms underwent serious damages at very low temperatures. However, in some cases, he reported that he managed to restore normal function when organisms were rewarmed after freezing. Luyet's work led to a whole new area of science called cryobiology. British scientists found that by soaking cells in a solution of glycerol, red blood cells and bull semen could be frozen and then their functions could be completely restored on rewarming. The main discovery is that through human cryogenics, life can, in fact, be stopped and restarted under controlled conditions. In the United States, Robert Ettinger through his book “The Prospect of Immortality” (1964) promoted the idea that a person frozen after legal death might rationally hope to be resuscitated at some time in the far future when medicine has advanced enough to cure most diseases, reverse the aging process, and repair any residual damage caused by freezing (Klein). This came to be known as Ettinger’s concept. Many scientists shun the idea of manipulating life and death conditions of the body and hence there has not been much progress in this field since the 1960s. Cryonics is an unproven theory. There are scientific obstacles that, some would say, are insurmountable. One of the success stories in this realm is that of Gregory Fahy and his team. They have succeeded in cryopreserving a rabbit kidney, reversed the procedure and successfully re-implanted it without losing the ability to sustain the life of the recipient (Fahy).

Cryonic aspirants may choose to have their entire body stored or only their head frozen. The thinking behind the latter option is that an old person would not want to come back alive in his old body. Cryonics is an expensive option. Alcor currently charges the equivalent of $80,000 for the full body option and $42,000 for the head only (Cryonics Cryogenics). The long-term storage of biological...

Cited: "Cryogenics." Britannica Concise Encyclopedia. Chicago: Encyclopedia Platt, Charles, 2009. Credo Reference. 3 Sept. 2010. Web. 27 Mar. 2013. .
"Cryogenics." Reader 's Guide to the History of Science. London: Best, Ben, 2000. N. pag. Credo Reference. 17 Sept. 2007. Web. 25 Mar. 2013.
"Cryonics Frequently Asked Question List." The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide. Lehr, A. Valentine, 2010. Credo Reference. 4 Jan. 2011. Web.
"Cryogenics." Illustrated Dictionary of Science, Andromeda. Fahy, M. Gregory, 1988. Credo Reference. 1 Jan. 2002. Web. 1 Apr. 2013.
"Disney, Walt." Encyclopedia of American Studies. Johns Hopkins UP, 2010. Credo Reference. 2 Mar. 2011. Web. 30 Mar. 2013.
Continue Reading

Please join StudyMode to read the full document

Become a StudyMode Member

Sign Up - It's Free