Cryo-What? — A Beginner’s Guide to Cryogenics, Cryonics and Cryopreservation


The first time I came across the terminologies of cryogenics, cryonics and cryopreservation, they all sounded the same to me. I knew that all expressions are conceptualized around the idea of using super low temperatures, but I wasn’t able to exactly distinguish them in their core meaning. As I continued my research, I came to understand, that there is quite some semantic confusion prevailing the distinctiveness of each term. While they all share morphological as well as phonological similarities, they do have a very distinct semantic core meaning. Let’s make scientific-smarty-pants-talk fun, and break it down in a nutshell — shall we!



Cryogenics, Cryonics and Cryopreservation

Popular culture is filled with incorrect word references, using the expressions cryogenics, cryonics and cryopreservation interchangeably. The first part of this article will provide a quick deep dive into the topic of cryogenics, which is followed by the topic of cryonics and cryopreservation in the second part.



1. Cryogenics

1.1. History, Definition and Scientific Knowledge-Bites

The beginning of cryogenics dates back to the year of 1877. The same year that oxygen was first cooled to the point at which it became a liquid (−183 °C, -297°F, 90 K). Hence, the term cryogenics originates from the Greek words kryos, meaning `frost’, `freezing´ or `cold’ and genic meaning ‘to produce’. Cryonics is defined as the sciences that...


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