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National Museum of Nuclear Science & History

Dr. George Marshall Lyon was an American physician who assisted with radiation safety during the Manhattan Project.

Dr. Lyon graduated from Denison University in 1916 and from Johns Hopkins Medical School in 1920, after which he practiced pediatrics in Baltimore. At the start of World War II, Lyon was commissioned into the Navy Medical Corps. During his service, Dr. Lyon worked in various capacities for the Manhattan Project. He studied the safety aspects of the thermal diffusion plant and was present for the Trinity test at Alamogordo, where he took over for an exhausted Stafford Warren.

During the Operation Crossroads nuclear tests on the Bikini Atoll, Lyon served as the personnel safety advisor to Vice Admiral William H.P. Blandy. His Crossroads medical group was tasked with setting up a biological research program and treating any nonradiological hazards. There he gathered data on the fallout and the exposure effects from the tests. He also worked with Stafford Warren in writing the safety plans for the project and setting up an emergency training program.

In 1947, Lyon was released from active duty. He became the assistant chief in the radioisotope section of the Veterans Affairs Central Office and then the Special Assistant in Atomic Medicine to the Assistant Chief Medical Director for Research and Education. Dr. Lyon became the Assistant Chief Medical Director for Research and Education in 1950. In these posts, Dr. Lyon helped set up radioisotope units in VA hospitals around the country, and evaluated claims by veterans of injuries as a result of exposure to radiation.When his term expired in 1953, he became director of the VA hospital in Huntington, West Virginia, where he grew up.  

Dr. Lyon died on May 1, 1985, in Palm Beach, Florida. 

George M. Lyon's Timeline
1895 Feb 8th Born in Union City, Pennsylvania.
1916 Received B.S. from Denison University.
1920 Received M.D. from Johns Hopkins Medical School.
1942 Called into active duty with the Navy Medical Corps.
1945 Jul 16th Witnessed the Trinity Test and helped monitor the health of observers.
1946 Served as personnel safety adviser for Operation Crossroads.
1950 Became Assistant Chief Medical Director for Research and Education in the Veterans Administration.
1953 Became Director of the VA Hospital in Huntington, West Virginia.
1985 May 1st Died in Palm Beach, Florida.

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