Man’s desire for immortality has always existed. Egyptian pharaohs were embalmed and mummified for ‘ eternal’ preservation. 3,000 years is not bad and may indeed feel like an eternity lying supine in a tomb but unfortunately it is a mere blink of an eye in geological terms. Nor had they counted on grave robbers and inquisitive Egyptologists.
Today, if you’re rich enough, your body can be preserved in an extreme low-temperature cryonic state in the hope that future science will be sufficiently advanced to breathe new life back into it. Therein lies the crux. For while a body could conceivably be revived, could a brain, especially a damaged brain? So how you die will have considerable bearing on your future chances of sentient revival – the odds of which, even in a best case scenario (young death by cardiac arrest), are infinitely remote. Moreover, cheating is not allowed – you have to be legally dead before you can avail of this service. If, nonetheless, you are an eternal optimist and remain undaunted, read on to find out how and why your brain will not be frozen but “vitrified”.
• To date not a single human has ever been...