Science: Vitreous Life

Cryogenic (low-temperature) experimenters have known for some time that certain living cells, dry or nearly dry— such as spores, infusoria, some types of bacteria—can survive temperatures close to absolute zero. In that extreme cold, around 273° Centigrade, below freezing, such living cells go into a state of "suspended animation," but resume normal living when thawed out. Cells with higher water content die when so frozen because their internal liquid crystallizes. Their molecular structure is rearranged in a "thermodynamically stable configuration," which is a fancy chemical description of death.

Dr. Alexander Goetz, who...

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