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Achieving immortality

By Jim Holt   January 1999

Like most of us, Benjamin Franklin did not want to die. Late in his life he expressed the wish that some method of preserving corpses might be found which would allow them eventually to be resuscitated. “Having a very ardent desire to see and observe the state of America a hundred years hence,” he wrote in 1773, “I should prefer to an ordinary death, being immersed with a few friends in a cask of Madeira, then to be recalled to life by the solar warmth of my dear country!”

Franklin may be dead but his dream of immortality isn’t. Right…

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