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article imagePioneer of Cryonics and the ‘Prospect of Immortality’ dead at 92

By Igor I. Solar     Jul 26, 2011 in Technology
Detroit - Robert Ettinger, the pioneer of cryogenics, died last Saturday after several weeks of health problems; his body will be preserved frozen in liquid nitrogen at -196°C with the hope that medical technology will allow him to continue living.
Following his death at his home in Michigan, the body of Robert Chester Wilson Ettinger, 92, became "Patient N° 106" to be stored at the Institute of Cryogenics, which he founded in 1976.
Robert Ettinger was born on 4 December 1918. He served in the United States Army during World War II and was seriously wounded during a battle in Belgium for which he was awarded the Purple Heart. He recovered after several years in a Michigan hospital. After the war he attended Wayne State University where he earned Master’s Degrees in Physics and Mathematics.
Having received bone replacement surgery he became a firm believer on the future possibilities of preserving life through technology. Ettinger also established "The Immortalist Society", a research and education organization dedicated to cryogenics and to extend the human life span.
In 1964 he wrote a book entitled "The Prospect of Immortality" which introduced the concept of cryogenics. In his book (available on-line here) Ettinger explains:
The fact: At very low temperatures it is possible, right now, to preserve dead people with essentially no deterioration, indefinitely. . .
The assumption: If civilization endures, medical science should eventually be able to repair almost any damage to the human body, including freezing damage and senile debility or other cause of death...
Hence we need only arrange to have our bodies, after we die, stored in suitable freezers against the time when science may be able to help us. No matter what kills us, whether old age or disease, and even if freezing techniques are still crude when we die, sooner or later our friends of the future should be equal to the task of reviving and curing us.
He continued for decades promoting the idea in writing and in public appearances. The Institute of Cryogenics based on Clinton Township, Michigan, has 935 members. Until July 2011 the IC had cryopreserved 103 human patients and 78 pets.
More about Cryogenics, Immortality, Medical Technology, Liquid Nitrogen, Robert Ettinger
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