Cryonics is a visionary concept that holds out the promise of a second chance at life - life with renewed health, vitality and youth.
The idea of a significantly longer or even indefinite lifespan might be considered impossible today - but airplanes, vaccines and computers that were all considered "impossible" ideas less than a century ago are now everyday features of modern life. We firmly believe that with the incredible advances being made in nanotechnology, medicine and science today, cryonics has the same potential to become an everyday reality in the not-so-distant future.
The concept of "Cryonics" or "Cryonic Suspension" was introduced in 1962 by the Founder of the Cryonics Institute, Robert Ettinger, in his landmark book "The Prospect of Immortality." The essential concept involves quickly cooling a recently deceased person to liquid nitrogen temperatures in order to keep their body preserved indefinitely. The ultimate goal is to keep the person perfectly suspended until future science is able to repair or replace vital tissues and ultimately revive the patient.
This might seem like an impossible goal to "revive" a "dead" person, however, "dying" is a process rather than an event, and a majority of the body's tissues remain intact at a cellular level even after the heart stops beating. The goal of cryonics is to halt that process as quickly as possible after legal death, giving future doctors the best possible chance of reviving the patient by repairing or replacing damaged tissues, or even entire organs using advanced computer, nanotech and medical equipment and procedures.
Perhaps surprisingly, many of the high-tech concepts like nanomedicine that are at the heart of cryonics theory were being discussed and considered plausible more than 50 years ago by scientists like Robert Ettinger, K. Eric Drexler and others. Although the technology we have today didn't exist in 1962, the seeds were there and the nascent ideas helped inspire Ettinger and others to believe the day would inevitably come when science would conquer the progressive deterioration known as "aging" and even what we currently consider death.
Robert Ettinger founded the Cryonics Institute in 1976 with the mission of providing people with a realistic chance at extending their lifespans via cryonics. Today, we continue that mission, providing cryonics services and educating people about the exciting possibilities we believe cryonics holds for themselves and their families. if you're interested in the idea of a "second chance at life," we encourage you to explore this web site, get the facts and judge for yourself whether or not cryonics is right for you.
Cryonics is much more than just the science of "freezing," because our ultimate objective is life after revival. Life that we believe will promise renewed youth and extended lifespans through the miracles of future technology that really isn't that far from becoming reality today.Dennis Kowalski - President
The Prospect of Immortality
The fundamental goal of cryonics is to give people a "second chance at life." Our aim is to greatly extend human lifespans and improve quality of life through applied technology - both present day and especially emerging future technology.
The process of cryopreservation involves cooling a legally-dead person to liquid nitrogen temperature where all physical decay essentially stops - with the goal of preserving tissues, organs and especially the brain with its associated memories and personality as perfectly as possible. A person held in this state is termed a "cryopreserved patient," because we do not consider the legal definition of "death" as a permanently irreversible state. We believe that the incredible advances being made today in biology, medicine, computers, nanotechnology and much more inevitably point to a future where advanced science will be able to revive these patients and restore them to health and even renewed youth.
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.
The essential question about cryonics that people want to know is "does it work?"
The important thing to understand is that cryonics is a two-stage process: Stage One involves placing a recently deanimated patient into cryonic suspension. Stage Two involves reanimating the patient.
With over 100 patients currently in stable and secure cryonic suspension at the Cryonics Institute facility in Michigan, (including our founder, Robert Ettinger and members of his family) we are confident to say "Yes," to Stage One. Human beings can, and are currently successfully cryopreserved using a process known as vitrification.
The unknown question at present is whether advanced science will be able to achieve Phase Two: the ability to revive cryonics subjects at some time in the future. The majority of debate (and misunderstandings) on the subject of cryonics involves the question "What are the potential chances for successful Revival?"
We believe the chances for successfully achieving revival sometime in the near future are not only excellent, but frankly, inevitable.
Whether you’re simply interested in learning more about cryonics, or considering cryonics for yourself or for a loved one – it’s a big decision to make. To help you understand the theory, process and practical details involved, we’ve put together a list of the most frequently asked questions about the subject.
Cryonics has attracted a huge amount of attention since the concept was first introduced by our founder, Robert Ettinger, in the late 1960s. Cryonics is a more complex concept than simply "freezing people," and understanding it involves a number of inter-related and co-dependent disciplines, including computer science, biology, medicine and nanotechnology. Unfortunately, much of the news coverage has been based on misconceptions and statements from "authorities" who don't understand the scope and complexity of the field. To get a more complete understanding of what cryonics is and what it isn't Read the Top 10 Cryonics Myths.
Robert Ettinger ("The Father of Cryonics") introduced the concept of cryonics in 1962 with the publication of his seminal book, "The Prospect of Immortality." The visionary new concept attracted worldwide attention when Doubleday published the first of several successful commercial editions, including several foreign language editions. Ettinger delved deeper into the subject of cryonics and life extension with his next book, "Man Into Superman," further advancing the cryonics movement.
The idea of greatly extending lifespans through the science of cryonics captured peoples' imaginations and organizations quickly sprang up in support of the concept. Ettinger himself formed The Immortalist Society (originally the Cryonics Society of Michigan, and later the Cryonics Association) in 1967 to further promote and explore the concept of cryonics.
Less than a decade later, in 1976, Ettinger and other members of The Immortalist Society took the next logical step and formed a new organization to put the concept of cryonics into actual practice. Their goal was to offer "The Prospect of Immortality" to the public through reliable and affordable cryonics services. The Cryonics Institute was formed in 1976 featuring the world's first fully-operational cryonics facility, located in Clinton Township, Michigan.
Since then, The Cryonics Institute has been dedicated to advancing the concept and practice of cryonics, attracting members world-wide. Membership has grown to over 1,000 members in dozens of countries, including 117 patients cryopreserved at the Michigan facility.
Learn more about the Cryonics Institute, including membership, our services, operations and facility.
The Cryonics Institute is a membership-based organization dedicated to advancing the concept and practice of Cryonics. We maintain a fully-operational Cryonics Facility in Clinton Township, MI offering secure and reliable cryostasis, DNA preservation and other services. Learn more about the Cryonics Institue. Learn more about CI Membership.