A Little Cryonics History

To my eyes, Chronosphere is chiefly important as an insider's personal view of the 40-year history of modern cryonics movements. For decades, people have been working on the indefinite low temperature storage of the deceased, aiming to preserve the fine structure of the brain that encodes the mind's data. There is, to my eyes, still far from enough of a recounting of that history, the lessons learned, and efforts made - the more memoirs and personal accounts presented online the better. So here are pointers to a couple of recent Chronosphere posts on what went on, back in the day, when cryonics was a younger initiative, both of which are liberally scattered with photographs:

In Camera Historia: Cryonics Institute Facility, 1978

On 21 March, 1978 the Cryonics Institute (CI) acquired their first facility, a storefront building in the Detroit Metro area. The CI building was the first wholly owned (cash purchase) patient storage facility in the history of cryonics, and remains one of only two in the world today. ... As was the case with all cryonics organizations' initial facilities, the CI facility was small and cramped. It also lacked the ceiling height necessary for upright (open at the top) cryostats and this limitation was an additional impetus for CI to develop the fiberglass-epoxy resin type of cryostat (using perlite and low vacuum insulation) that they currently use to store their patients.

The Armories of the Latter Day Laputas, Part 7

The Alcor Life Extension Foundation, Inc. (Alcor) and its brother for-profit organization, Manrise Corporation (Manrise), were founded in 1972 by Fred and Linda Chamberlain ... The Chamberlains had previously been members of the Cryonics Society of California (CSC) and both had served as officers of CSC. When they became suspicious about the integrity of CSC's financial and cryogenic patient care operations and were unable to obtain answers to their questions, they left CSC and founded Alcor/Manrise. As was the model at the time, Alcor was the 501c3 non-profit organization tasked with accepting cryonics patients under the Uniform Anatomical Gift Act (UAGA) and acting as their custodian and advocate until such time as reanimation might become possible.

If this were a better world then cryonics or a similar industry based on plastination would be large and well known, and a majority of people would be spared the oblivion of the grave. We don't live in that world, evidently, and is a sad statement on vision, priorities, and human nature that cryonics remains a small industry.

Comment Submission

Post a comment; thoughtful, considered opinions are valued. New comments can be edited for a few minutes following submission. Comments incorporating ad hominem attacks, advertising, and other forms of inappropriate behavior are likely to be deleted.

Note that there is a comment feed for those who like to keep up with conversations.