Needed: Head Refrigerant

03Sep11

I’m not sure this is an entirely great idea, but here goes.

They say your brain puts out a lot of heat, uses up an inordinate share of your body’s calories, and so forth.  Apparently humans are also able to outrun faster animals (e.g., dogs, horses) over long distances in warm weather because our hairless bodies are better at cooling themselves.

This all sounds reasonable enough.  But it seems, then, that exerting in hot weather is likely to make your head intolerably hot long before the rest of your body has a problem.  So you could be overcome by heat, or at least experience reduced performance, just because your head is hot.

We can’t wear (or afford) astronaut-style spacesuits to control full body heat.  Besides, you wouldn’t want to run a marathon in one.  But refrigerating your head could be a different matter.  Carry an energy source in a light backpack, put on your freon hat, and you’re set.

I realize the batteries to power a standard refrigerating unit, and the weight of the unit itself, could call for a pretty heavy backpack.  There may be ways around this — using other cooling technology, having an alternate battery pack on fast recharge nearby, putting the battery pack on the floor, maybe even tethering yourself with a 120V power cord (if you’re working in a small space and a cord wouldn’t get in the way).

I don’t know if this would actually improve performance.  I don’t even know if it’s been studied.  This question is left as an exercise for the reader.

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One Response to “Needed: Head Refrigerant”

  1. It’s actually used in Terry Pratchett’s Discworld books. Trolls, stone-based lifeforms that are usually very dim-witted, become Einsteinian brilliant when refrigerated. By chilling the silicon in their heads, the circuitry works much, MUCH better!

    As for humans… maybe I’ll try wrapping my head in a towel soaked in ice-water next time I’m feeling over-heated…


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