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Science and Medicine

Scientific knowledge grew as never before in the years after the Halifax Explosion. One of the most profound changes came in the 1940’s with the beginning of the nuclear age.

During World War II, Allied scientists developed a weapon to end the war in the Pacific and change the world. Their research into what had gone before--including the Halifax Explosion--gave them insight into the potential of a nuclear bomb.

Other developments in the physical sciences have led to new understanding of the Explosion's effects. For example, advances in underwater mapping have ended some debates and started others.

In 1917, medicine was a world away from the field we know today. Specialties were few; most physicians were either general practitioners or surgeons. Emergency medicine, ophthalmology, surgery and anaesthesiology, and psychiatry are just some of the areas that draw on the experiences of those turn-of-the-century doctors and nurses. Continue >


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Helen Creighton Remembers
Helen Creighton Remembers
Hear her experiences during the explosion.
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Dr. John Stewart: In the 1860's, the Scottish doctor Joseph Lister discovered the connection between infection and germs and bacteria in the operating room. The development of "antiseptic surgery" practices saved countless lives. Surgery became more common as it became safer.

One of Lister's early assistants was a Nova Scotian. Dr. John Stewart was head of president of the province's medical society in 1917. He later became dean of Dalhousie University's medical school.

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