"Longevity through technology, education, and research"
The Fundamental Concept of Cryonics
Cryonics is, at its very essence, a fairly simple concept. If we take individuals, as near to the time of their clinical death as possible, and place them in temperatures that are ultralow ("cryogenic"--i.e., temperatures like that of liquid nitrogen, which is around minus 320 degrees Fahrenheit) essentially all deterioration that occurs after clinical death is stopped. The expectation is that with the continuing advance of science and, in particular these days, a branch of science called nanotechnology, future physicians and scientists should be able to revive an individual. Further, these future scientists and physicians should be able to cure the individual of whatever terminal disease or injury that they had along with any damage that the cryonic procedure may have caused. Finally, with the advanced technology of the future, it should be possible to restore the individual to a state of youth and health comparable to that when the person was in the "prime of their life".
This concept, which may seem unusual upon initially hearing about it, has caught the interest of many. At present, a couple of hundred individuals have had themselves placed at ultralow temperatures after their clinical death in the hope and expectation that future science and medical procedures will be able to help them. Numerous other individuals have completed the proper paperwork and funding necessary to have the procedure carried out on themselves when the time comes. People involved in cryonics cover the gamut of life, ranging from truck drivers to housewives, from attorneys to physicians and scientifically trained persons, with all sorts of political and personal views on various subjects. The one area which they totally agree on is that human life is a precious, precious thing and that every reasonable step should be taken in trying to preserve it.
Founding of Cryonics:
Cryonics was essentially founded by a man by the name of Robert C.W. Ettinger. Mr. Ettinger, who has now been placed in a cryostat himself (a cryostat is a vessel for holding things at extremely low temperatures), first thought of the concept fairly early in his life. After years of waiting for someone else to announce the idea and push it forward and after time spent delving into various topics, including literature on cryobiology, Mr. Ettinger decided he had to take action himself. In 1962, he wrote an initial version of what later would be his seminal book on the topic and sent copies around to several persons whom he picked out of Who's Who in America. Among the readers was Dr. Isaac Asimov, a noted science and science fiction writer. Dr. Asimov pronounced the general concept as reasonable and, in 1964, Mr. Ettinger's concept was introduced to the public at large in the form of a book The Prospect of Immortality. It was printed by Doubleday publishers in a hardcover version and was a "Book of the Month Club" offering. After the publication of this volume, numerous individuals became interested and organizations were formed with the intent on making the availability of cryonic procedures and storage (sometimes referred to as "cryonic suspension" or "cryopreservation") widespread.
Organizations Involved In Cryonics:
At present there are several organizations engaged in various ways in the efforts of trying to make cryonics a more everyday and widespread reality. One is the Cryonics Institute, an organization that has as one of its founders Robert Ettinger himself. The Cryonics Institute, or CI as it is normally known, is located in Clinton Township, Michigan. Another is the Alcor Corporation, which is located in Scottsdale, Arizona and was originally formed by Fred and Linda Chamberlain, both dedicated cryonics advocates. The American Cryonics Society is in Cupertino, California and has been in business for decades. The Immortalist Society is a Michigan based corporation that engages in research and education and traces its history back to the 1960's. A more recent proprietary company exists, Suspended Animation, Inc., located in Boynton Beach, Florida. Suspended Animation offers an option to supplement routine cryonic suspension and storage of individuals through a "standby and transport" procedure to be initially carried out at the bedside of a cryonics patient. In addition to these organizations, other groups are either formed or are in the process of being formed in various other parts of the world. While cryonics is still an experimental procedure and an effort with varying approaches, it continues to have support and interest among members of the public, included among which are individuals with scientific training and backgrounds.
For Further Information:
The Immortalist Society would urge that you begin to avail yourself of the voluminous amounts of information that is now fortunately available on the subject on the Internet. Simply typing "Cryonics" into the search box of any of the popular Internet "search engines" (i.e., Yahoo, Google, etc.) will result in numerous web sites and pages on the subject being brought up.
One caution is that the amount and quality of the information may vary greatly. Regrettably, even among what should be thought of as "professional" news organizations, it is easy for erroneous information to continue to be posted. Also, in approaching any new subject, healthy skepticism should be the watchwords until you are sure that you are dealing with reputable and ethical groups and individuals.
If you have any questions that need to be answered, however, don't hesitate to contact one of the cryonics groups. Look closely at the information given and compare the information from one place with another. As in any other worthwhile endeavor in life, there's no substitute for "doing your homework". The Immortalist Society is here to help as well, especially considering that one of our main purposes is to try to disseminate accurate information about the subject of cryonics. Don't hesitate to drop us a line at the address at the top of the page. Also, continue to come back to this website to look for additional information and/or updated information about the exciting and world-changing concept of cryonics!
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