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Cryoprotectants and frogs

When I was in High School one of my classmates decided to do his annual science fair project on cryogenics. It was a relatively new science in the mid 1980’s and a subject of the pop science of the time. He studied this subject by freezing goldfish in liquid nitrogen (surprisingly easy to acquire it turns out) and attempting to thaw them in the microwave – hoping to return them to life.

Needless to say this didn’t work – as I remember from his conclusion (a key part of the science fair project) largely because the fish cracked. QED.

However now comes word (courtesy of PBS’ Nova) that, while it is unlikely he would have ever succeeded with fish, had he used the common wood frog he would have indeed been able to freeze the frog and return it to life. As you can see on their web site, this frog has the uncanny ability to let itself freeze completely in the winter, only to come back with the spring thaw.

Life truly is amazing.

8 Comments on Cryoprotectants and frogs

  1. Heh, my friend used different methodology to bring back the dead. It involved road kill racoon and a car battery. Similar lack of results. QED.

  2. And thus we get a glimpse into the formative years of Kevin’s obsession with zombies and necromancy…

  3. Anonymous // March 29, 2006 at 7:31 pm //

    Hi, I’m actually trying to do the same project for my highschool science fair, except using plain water, and not liquid nitrogyn. I was wondering if you could provide any more information to me; it would help me out a lot.


  4. Sure. You can spell “nitrogyn” as “nitrogen” and maybe get higher marks on your science porject.


  5. And yes, I intentionally “made a funny” there. Actually, two funnies.

  6. 😀

    The previous message was brought to you by the letter ‘N’ and the Fred Kiesche Spelling Institute where proper spelling does not go unnoticed…

  7. Just being my curmudgeonly self. After all, it is part of my contract with the Management of SF Signal. That and approving postings about supermodels.

    (Is the term “supermodel” copyrighted by Marvel and DC?)


  8. If you freeze the goldfish for 3 to 5 seconds then take it out and put it pack into the water it will take a little time before it comes back to life. The top layer of the fish’s skin is frozen and not the whole body.

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