Browse "Science & Technology"

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Tommy Douglas and Eugenics

Tommy Douglas — the father of socialized medicine in Canada and one of the country’s most beloved figures — once supported eugenic policies. In 1933, he received a Master of Arts in sociology from McMaster University for his thesis, “The Problems of the Subnormal Family.” In the thesis, Douglas recommended several eugenic policies, including the sterilization of “mental defectives and those incurably diseased.” His ideas were not unique, as two Canadian provinces (and 32 American states) passed sexual-sterilization legislation in the 1920s and 1930s. However, by the time Douglas became premier of Saskatchewan in 1944, he had abandoned his support for eugenic policies. When Douglas received two reports that recommended legalizing sexual sterilization in the province, he rejected the idea.

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Canada and the Development of the Polio Vaccine

During the first half of the 20th century, poliomyelitis, a.k.a. polio or “The Crippler,” hit Canada harder than anywhere else. Successive polio epidemics peaked in a national crisis in 1953. By that time, however, scientists at Connaught Medical Research Laboratories of the University of Toronto had made key discoveries that enabled American medical researcher and virologist Jonas Salk to prepare the first polio vaccine. Connaught Labs also solved the problem of producing the vaccine on a large scale. Canada went on to play an important role in the development of the oral polio vaccine and international efforts to eradicate the disease.

Click here for definitions of key terms used in this article.

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Fossil Animals

The first animals were microscopic in size and left no known fossil remains. The oldest animal fossils occur in sediments deposited under shallow equatorial seas over 600 million years ago.

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Medical Anthropology

Medical anthropology is the study of interactions between culture and health. Medical anthropologists are interested in how a person's cultural background influences his or her experiences with health, illness and medical systems.

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Applied Anthropology

Applied anthropologists use their knowledge of peoples and cultures for practical purposes. They do this framed by anthropological concepts and a methodology - ethnographic fieldwork - that portrays people in their actual circumstances.

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Physical Anthropology

Human biological history is most directly told by the fossil record. Although early hominid remains (fossils in the human line) are not found in the Western Hemisphere, Canadians have contributed significantly to paleontology.

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Linguistic Anthropology

In Canada linguistics exists as a fully autonomous discipline, represented by about 12 independent programs, as well as by linguistic research within departments of English, various other language areas, education, philosophy, psychology, sociology and anthropology.

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Anthropology in Canada

Anthropology is the comparative study of past and contemporary cultures, focusing on the ways of life and customs of people around the world. Subdisciplines have developed within anthropology, owing to the amount of information collected and the wide variety of methods and techniques used in research. The main branches are physical anthropology, archaeology, linguistic anthropology, ethnology (which is also called social or cultural anthropology) and applied anthropology. In Canada, early anthropologists included missionaries, explorers and traders who documented the lives of the Indigenous people they encountered. Later, the Geological Survey of Canada played a significant role in the development of Canadian anthropology.

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Antibiotic Resistance in Canada

Antibiotic (or antimicrobial) resistance developed with the wide distribution of antibiotic medications in the 20th century. Resistance occurs when the medication is no longer capable of killing or preventing the reproduction of bacteria. A major global health challenge, antibiotic resistance makes treating diseases more difficult and expensive, and it results in fewer antibiotics that are effective in managing infectious diseases. Canada is experiencing rising rates of antibiotic-resistant infections such as gonorrhea. In hospital settings, infections that resist multiple drugs are also becoming more common. Canadian health agencies, medical professionals and industries are active in multiple efforts to combat this problem.

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Antimony

Antimony (Sb) is a silvery-white, lustrous, crystalline solid. Uncharacteristically for metals, it is brittle and conducts heat and electricity poorly. Antimony melts at 630°C and boils at 1380°C. The mineral stibnite is the most important source of antimony.

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Computer Systems Applications

MATHEMATICS spawned the computer in the 1940s and gave it its name. Its first application was the computation of theoretical ballistic tables for traditional bombs, but calculations for the atomic bomb and then for guided missiles soon became the driving force for computer development.

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Aquaculture

Aquaculture is the human-controlled cultivation and harvest of freshwater and marine plants and animals. Synonyms include fish farming, fish culture, mariculture, fish breeding and ocean ranching.

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Aquarium

An aquarium is an organization devoted to the public exhibition of both freshwater and marine aquatic life. Exhibit species may include not only fish but also other aquatic animals.