William Harvey was an English doctor who closely observed the bodies of his patients and of animals. He realized that blood flowed round the body. He saw in the action of the heart in small animals and fish what was going on in people.
William Harvey was born in Folkestone, a small fishing village on the English Channel not far from Dover on the first day of April in 1578.
He was a student of medicine in 1600 and mastered the traditional theory of human physiology as well as all the scientific theory and medical practice that depended on it and supported it.
Harvey’s admission to the fellowship of the Royal College of Physician (1607), his appointment as Physician to St Bartholomew’s Hospital (1609), as Lumleian Lecturer in Anatomy (1615) and as Physician Extraordinary to the King are the great landmarks of the Jacobean period in Harvey’s life.
In 1628, Harvey published his revolutionary ‘circulation’ theory of the movement of the blood. He was the first doctor to actually describe the circulation in the body accurately.
Harvey’s discovery, which controverted the ancient theory of Galen, is one of the vital, incontestable breakthroughs in the history of science and medicine.
William Harvey (1578-1657) and blood circulation
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