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William Harvey and his impact on society William Harvey (1578-1657) was an English physician who is credited with being the first to correctly describe in detail the systematic circulation and properties of blood being pumped around the body by the heart. Harvey's discoveries led to further research such as research into the study of embryology which had an impact on society that eventually led to the discovery of IVF (in-vitro fertilisation). Obviously this had a huge impact on society because it meant a huge development in the world of Science and it meant that couples who were biologically unable to have children were able to with this treatment. However, the discovery of embryology and IVF also had negative impacts on society because not all religions and walks of life support it and prefer natural methods.
Harvey's work on circulation led him to be one of the most highly respected doctors of his time, and he was personal doctor to King James I and many other members of the Royal Family. However, when King James I died and Harvey could not cure him of his chronic illness, he was held personally responsible for a plot to kill the king and was only freed by the next king to whom he was also personal physician. His research didn't actually impact society as much at the time as it did in the future years, as people were very reluctant to accept his new ideas and methods, and blood letting was still seen to be the most popular practice.
Furthermore, we would not have such an advanced knowledge of medicine in general which has led to our increased use of technology, and without this technology there would be a negative impact on society, especially as it would cause many unnecessary deaths. Overall, it is clear that William Harvey's work was not appreciated nearly as much in his lifetime than it is now, as there were so many different theories being put forward at the time that not many people took him seriously. However, although his discoveries and experiments may previously have affected society in negative ways, as time and technology advanced it is clear that Harvey's discoveries have a huge basis on modern surgery of today, and therefore society has been and is still impacted in a positive way. Rachel Nash 12.6
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