Entries in Cryogenics (1)


Cryogenics Pioneer Frozen after Death

Hemera Technologies/Thinkstock(CLINTON TOWNSHIP, Mich.) -- Walt Disney, Ted Williams, Austin Powers -- at a glance they don't seem to have much in common. But the three are perhaps the most famous names -- be they fictional or not -- to be associated with cryogenic freezing.

Though the stories about Walt Disney being frozen are not true, and Austin Powers is comedian Mike Myers' beloved fictional alter-ego, baseball icon Ted Williams did famously have his head frozen after he died, with the hope that someday in the future, advances in science and technology would be able to bring him back to life.

The idea to cryopreserve humans sprang from the pages of science fiction in the 1960s, when Robert Ettinger, inspired by a sci-fi story he read, founded the Cryonics Institute in Clinton Township, Mich.

Inside the institute, over 100 people float inside giant bottles filled with nitrogen at temperatures colder than negative 130 degrees Celsius, hoping one day in the future some doctor will revive them.

Now that Ettinger died last week at the age of 92, he has joined them as patient 106.

His son, David Ettinger, explained that his father is now in a temporary cooling box. Also within the institute are Robert Ettinger's mother, Rhea, his first wife, Elaine, and his second wife, Mae.

"My father's intention was that he and his family and friends get a chance to live longer and to take advantage of the promise of future technology," David Ettinger told ABC News.

"He believed like a lot of people do that in the future we're going to have dramatically better medical technology. The question is how do you get them from here to there, and cryonics is kind of an ambulance to the future," he said.

Ettinger said that he is a firm believer in his father's ideas and plans to be frozen himself.

The cold, hard facts: for approximately $30,000, anyone can be cryogenically frozen. Currently, there are more than 200 people in a frozen state at cryonics centers in the U.S., and some 2,000 more people have signed up for it.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio