Alcor Life Extension Foundation

From Academic Kids

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Alcor-Dewar2.jpg
This "bigfoot" Dewar is custom-designed to contain four wholebody patients and six neuropatients immersed in liquid nitrogen at -196 degrees Celsius. The Dewar is an insulated container which consumes no electric power. Liquid nitrogen is added periodically to replace the small amount that evaporates.

The Alcor Life Extension Foundation is a Scottsdale, Arizona-based nonprofit company that researches, advocates for and performs cryonics, the preservation of people after legal death in liquid nitrogen, with hopes of restoring them to full health when new technology is developed in the future.

Alcor was founded as the Alcor Society for Solid State Hypothermia in 1972 by Fred and Linda Chamberlain. In 1976 Alcor performed its first human cryopreservation. The name was changed to Alcor Life Extension Foundation in 1977. It moved to Arizona in 1994. At the end of 2003, Alcor had 661 members who had completed their financial and legal arrangements for cryopreservation, and 59 patients in cryonic suspension.

Alcor accepts anatomical donations under the Uniform Anatomical Gift Act and Arizona Anatomical Gift Act for research purposes.

Controversies

Before the company moved to Arizona from Riverside, California in 1994, it became a center of controversy when a county coroner ruled that an Alcor client was murdered with barbiturates before her head was removed by the company's staff. Alcor contended that the drug was administered after her death. No charges were ever filed.

In 2002, Alcor drew considerable attention when baseball star Ted Williams was placed in cryonic suspension. This grew out of an extended family dispute over how Williams wanted to have his remains disposed of. In 2003, Sports Illustrated published allegations by an Alcor employee that the company had mishandled Williams' head by drilling holes and accidentally cracking it. The story also reported that some of Williams' DNA was missing, possibly in connection with his son's desire to sell some of the DNA. Alcor denied the allegations, and explained that microscopic cracking can result as part of the process of freezing the head.

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