Cryogenics - The Cool Science
Science is always a cool and interesting subject to study but cryogenics is cool in the literal sense for it refers to the science related to production of extremely low temperatures. As I mentioned previously the reason for not being able to attain absolute zero is that the amount of energy required for this would be infinite which is obviously non-feasible.
If the word seems All Greek then you are probably right for a paradoxical coincidence for it is actually so. The word cryogenics is actually made up from the combination of two Greek words namely “Kyros" and “Genic" which refer to “frost" and “produce" respectively, hence the meaning of producing frost or very low temperatures.
We cannot specify a particular date when Cryogenics can said to be born but there is sufficient evidence to indicate that even as long back as 150 years ago, the Swiss watchmakers used this technique albeit without knowing much about the internal workings of the process. They buried parts of their watches in snow and found that these parts got more durable. Similar techniques were used in other parts of the world as well where materials were subject to extreme heat and cold to make them stronger and longer lasting.
Though there may be disagreements regarding exact origins of Cryogenics, most experts would agree that the credit of transforming the concepts discussed above into a concrete science goes to NASA who utilized this technique to strengthen parts used in spacecrafts so that they can survive the extreme temperatures of the universe along their astral journey.
Initially the process was not understood at the microscopic level hence when various processes successfully used liquid nitrogen immersion technique, some processes resulted in very brittle parts associated with the phenomenon of thermal shocks.
Two people who distinctly stand out in developing cryogenics are Dr Randall Barron of Louisiana Technical University and Dr Hugh of the General Dynamics Corporation. Of course there have been several other researchers and academicians who have contribute a lot to this field.