Preserving Minds, Saving Lives Book

Preserving Minds, Saving Lives: The Best Cryonics Writings From The Alcor Life Extension Foundation

Edited by Aschwin de Wolf and Stephen Bridge.

Cryonics is an experimental medical procedure that uses ultra-low temperatures to put critically ill people into a state of metabolic arrest to give them access to medical advances of the future. Since its inception in the early 1960s, the practice of cryonics has moved from a theoretical concept to an evidence-based practice that uses emergency medical procedures and modern vitrification technologies to eliminate ice formation.

Preserving Minds, Saving Lives offers an ambitious collection of articles about cryonics and the Alcor Life Extension Foundation. From its humble beginnings in 1972, and its first human cryonics patient in 1976, Alcor has grown to a professional organization with more than 1,000 members, more than 140 human patients, and more than 50 pets, all awaiting a chance to be restored to good health and continue their lives.

This 570-page book presents some of the best cryonics writings from Cryonics magazine from 1972 to 2012. There are clear expositions of the rationale behind cryonics, its scientific validation, and the evolution of Alcor procedures. Also covered are repair and resuscitation scenarios, philosophical issues associated with cryonics, and debates within the cryonics community itself.

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Table of Contents

Foreword: Cryonics and Hope, by Gregory Benford, Ph.D.

Introduction, by Stephen W. Bridge


  • Why We Are Cryonicists, by Michael Darwin
  • Cryonics: Using Low Temperatures to Care for the Critically Ill, by Aschwin de Wolf
  • Medical Time Travel, by Brian Wowk, Ph.D.
  • The Bricks in the Wall, by Michael Darwin with contributions by Stephen W. Bridge


  • John Hunter, Cryonics Forerunner, by R. Michael Perry, Ph.D.
  • The Society for the Recovery of Persons Apparently Dead, by Steven B. Harris, M.D.
  • Riding the Jameson Satellite, by R. Michael Perry, Ph.D.
  • The First Cryonicist, by Saul Kent
  • Robert Ettinger: Some Brief Historical and Personal Notes, by R. Michael Perry, Ph.D.
  • Notes on the First Human Freezing, by Ted Kraver, Ph.D
  • The Realities of Patient Storage, by R. Michael Perry, Ph.D.
  • Suspension Failures: Lessons from the Early Years, by R. Michael Perry, Ph.D.
  • Dear Dr. Bedford, by Michael Darwin
  • Robert Nelson and the Bedford Freezing: A Comment, by R. Michael Perry, Ph.D.
  • Cold War: The Conflict Between Cryonicists and Cryobiologists, by Michael Darwin


  • A Brief History of Alcor, from Alcor’s Website
  • Where did the name Alcor come from? by Fred Chamberlain III and Linda Chamberlain
  • New Home, New Life: Alcor Moves to Arizona, by Stephen W. Bridge
  • The Alcor Patient Care Trust, by Stephen W. Bridge and Brian Wowk, Ph.D.


  • Evaluation of the Condition of Dr. James H. Bedford after 24 Years of Cryonic Suspension, by Michael Darwin
  • A Brief History of Alcor Research, by R. Michael Perry, Ph.D.
  • The 21st Century Medicine Seminar: Amazing Breakthroughs in Cryobiology and Resuscitation
  • Systems for Intermediate Temperature Storage for Fracture Reduction and Avoidance, by Brian Wowk, Ph.D.


  • How Cold is Cold Enough? by Hugh Hixon, M.S.
  • History of DMSO and Glycerol in Cryonics, by Michael Darwin
  • Mathematical Analysis of Recirculating Perfusion Systems, with Application to Cryonic Suspension, by R. Michael Perry, Ph.D.
  • Getting to 8M Glycerol and Other Perfusion Problems, by Hugh Hixon, M.S.
  • How Cryoprotectants Work, by Brian Wowk, Ph.D.
  • Vitrification Arrives: New Technology Preserves Patients without Ice Damage, by Fred Chamberlain III
  • New Cryopreservation Technology, by Alcor Staff
  • Cooling Down, by Hugh Hixon, M.S.
  • Elements of a Transport, by Tanya Jones
  • Cardiopulmonary Support in Cryonics: The Significance of Legal Death in Cryonics, by Brian Wowk, Ph.D.
  • Rapid Stabilization in Human Cryopreservation, by Aschwin de Wolf
  • Securing Viability of the Brain at Alcor, by Aschwin de Wolf
  • Case Reports in Cryonics, by Aschwin de Wolf


  • To Wake Refreshed, by Michael Darwin
  • The Anabolocyte: A Biological Approach to Repairing Cryoinjury, by Michael Darwin
  • Cell Repair Technology, by Brian Wowk, Ph.D.
  • Realistic Scenario for Nanotechnological Repair of the Frozen Human Brain, by Gregory Fahy, Ph.D.
  • A Cryopreservation Revival Scenario Using MNT, by Ralph C. Merkle, Ph.D. and Robert A. Freitas, Jr., J.D.
  • Neural Archaeology, by Thomas Donaldson, Ph.D.
  • Cryonics, Cryptography, and Maximum Likelihood Estimation, by Ralph C. Merkle, Ph.D.
  • Information Storage and Computational Aspects of Repair, by Tad Hogg, Ph.D.


  • A Message for Terminal Patients, by Saul Kent
  • The Death of Death in Cryonics, by Brian Wowk, Ph.D.
  • Why Suspension Members Need More Than Minimum Funding, by Saul Kent
  • Conservative Medicine, by Michael Darwin
  • Binary Statutes, Analog World: Burke’s Paradox and the Law, by Steven B. Harris, M.D.
  • Why a Religious Person Can Choose Cryonics, by Stephen W. Bridge
  • Cryonics and Emergency Medicine, by Thomas Donaldson, Ph.D.
  • Ethics of Non-ideal Cryonics Cases, by Brian Wowk, Ph.D.
  • Let’s Talk About Cryonics, by Ralph C. Merkle, Ph.D.
  • How to Protect Your Cryonics Arrangements from Interference by Third Parties, by Rebecca Lively, Attorney at Law


  • But What Will the Neighbors Think? A Discourse on the History and Rationale of Neurosuspension, by Michael Darwin
  • The Neurocryopreservation Option: Head First Into the Future. by Stephen W. Bridge
  • The Case for Whole Body Cryopreservation, by Michael B. O’Neal, Ph.D. and Aschwin de Wolf
  • Responsibility, Probability, and Durability, by Thomas Donaldson, Ph.D.
  • The “I” Word, by Ralph C. Merkle, Ph.D.
  • The Road Less Traveled: Alternatives to Cryonics, by R. Michael Perry, Ph.D.
  • The Myth of the Golden Scalpel, by Michael Darwin
  • Has Cryonics Taken the Wrong Path? by Stephen W. Bridge

Afterword, by Aschwin de Wolf

Biographies of Contributors


“Cryonics magazine introduced me to Alcor and cryonics at its best back in 1983. The visions and technological breakthroughs that you will read about in this book continue to shape Alcor’s mission.”

Max More, Ph.D., President and CEO of Alcor

“Society’s failure to take cryonics seriously is a tragedy that is probably costing countless lives. Alcor, notably via its magazine, is leading the fight to change that.”

Aubrey de Grey, Ph.D., Biomedical Gerontologist and Chief Science Officer of the SENS Research Foundation

“Alcor appears to be the leading organization in the application of cryonics in medicine. I’m proud to be a part of this effort.”

Michael D. West, Ph.D., Stem Cell Scientist and Chief Executive Officer of BioTime, Inc.