I’m sure most of you are familiar with the popular Batman villain Mr. Freeze—if not, you should reassess some things. Well, in the franchise, Mr. Freeze is a cryogenicist who put his terminally ill wife in suspended animation (a dormant state without death). According to New Scientist, this technique involves cooling a patient, who may have suffered acute trauma, to 10 – 15°C, replacing their blood with ice-cold saline. In a real-time situation, their brain will almost completely stop, they’ll be disconnected from the cooling system, and their body would be moved to the operating center. The surgical team will then have to fix the patient’s injuries before they are warmed up and their heart is restarted.
Although this procedure piqued my interest, it made me question whether reviving someone from death by way of cooling them is possible. Could we freeze a loved one who’s passed away and bring them back to life at a later date?
Right now, the answer is maybe. And the operation is called cryonics.
Cryonics is the process of cooling a recently deceased person to liquid nitrogen temperatures, preserving the body indefinitely. The goal is to keep the body preserved until future science can repair and replace vital tissues and bring the patient back to life. Chance for revival may include repairing or replacing damaged tissues and organs using advanced computer systems, nanotechnology, and medical equipment.
Cryonics was introduced in 1962 by Robert Ettinger after he published The Prospect of Immortality. The book’s success turned the idea of expanding one’s lifespan into a national discussion. This led Ettinger to form The Immortalist Society, and in 1976, that morphed into The Cryonics Institute, where the prospect of immortality became available through reliable and affordable cryonics services. The facility is based in Clinton Township, Michigan.
Currently, there are 100 patients in a cryonic state at The Cryonics Institute, including founder Robert Ettinger and members of his family. The two stages of the process include Phase One: placing a deceased patient into a cryonic suspension. And Phase Two: reanimating the patient. Phase Two has yet to be achieved until scientific advancements say otherwise.
The Cryonics Institute is a non-profit membership organization, with its fundamental objective being to give people a “second chance at life.”
Essentially, the concept is to “buy time” until technology catches up and is able to fully repair and restore the human body. Cryonicists are people who believe this future is not only possible, but highly probable and who have decided to take action in the present for the chance at a renewed life in the future. Cryonics Insitute patients currently cryopreserved at CI include people from all walks of life and all ages – chefs, students, secretaries, professors and many others.
If an artificial intelligence takeover (A.I.) is possible, at least by way of conspiracy theorists, then the practice of cryonics has to be successful one day.
For more information on The Cryonics Institute, check out their official website. I’ll keep you all updated on any new findings.
Until Next Time…
Thomson, H. (2019, November 20). Exclusive: Humans placed in suspended animation for the first time Read more: https://www.newscientist.com/article/2224004-exclusive-humans-placed-in-suspended-animation-for-the-first-time/#ixzz6qQdquqiB. Retrieved March 28, 2021, from https://www.newscientist.com/article/2224004-exclusive-humans-placed-in-suspended-animation-for-the-first-time/
(n.d.). Retrieved March 28, 2021, from https://www.cryonics.org