What is cryonics? Why is it in the news?

Cryonics has been making headlines with a number of big names evincing interest in signing up to be cryopreserved after their death. Sounds like something straight out of a science fiction? Well, let’s take a peek into the evolving world of cryonics or cryopreservation.

The term ‘cryonics’ is derived from Greek kryos meaning ‘cold’. Cryonics or cryopreservation is the practice of storing biological material at extremely low temperatures. It involves freezing at ultra-low temperatures (that is below -196 degrees C) in the hope that revival may be possible in the future. At present, cryonics is just a blend of science and speculation (as revival is not guaranteed).

When someone who has consented to be cryonically preserved dies, their body is cooled by a team of technicians. Then it is carried to a cryonics facility where organ preservation solutions are used. The concept of cryopreservation evolved in the 1960s. Robert Chester Wilson Ettinger, a physics professor, is widely regarded as the father of the cryonics movement. It was he who put forth the idea of cryopreservation in his book “The Prospect of Immortality” in 1962. The book captivated the imagination of people and made Ettinger hugely popular. Ettinger went on to found the Cryonics Institute, a non-profit organisation, in Detroit, Michigan, in 1976 and served as its president till 2003. In 2012, Ettinger died aged 92, and his body has been in cryonic suspension since.

Adherents believe that along with advancements in medical and technological fields cryopreservation can revive life, repair damage, and reverse disease and ageing. However, critics look at cryonics with scepticism and also raise ethical questions because the whole process is against nature.

Picture Credit : Google 

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