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William Harvey

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William Harvey William Harvey was the oldest of seven children. His being a boy as well as the oldest child gained him a good education. He was born in 1578 in England in a place called Kent during the reign of queen Elizabeth 1. He was a very talented student, first studying at Kings College in Canterbury and then went on to Cambridge University, where he earned his bachelor's degree in 1597 at the age of twenty. He decided to continue his schooling at the university of Padua, the best medical school of its time. Padua was the best place for western and european medical instruction. William Harvey studied under the well known scientist and surgeon, Hieronymus Fabricius and it was under his tuition that Harvey got interested in anatomy. This was partly because Fabricius himself was a very ardent anatomist. He had figured out that the valves worked only one way in the veins, but could not figure out what their role was. ...read more.


He was appointed fellow of the royal college of physicians which was quite an honor in itself, because the events that followed were certainly lucky. He was appointed physician first to james 1, and then charles 1 when the latter became king. Settling down, Harvey worked at St Bartholemew's hospital in London continuing his interest in anatomy. He made some very important discoveries. In 1615 harvey really started to think about how the blood circulated around the body. He was fascinated and was sure that he could work out all the secrets of the system. He discouraged people believing that food was converted to blood by the liver, and then consumed as fuel by the body itself, though many did not believe him even though he knew from firsthand experience and observations of animal dissections. By being sponsored, he dissected many animals and executed criminals to prove his point. He also proved that the heart was indeed a pump that forced blood around the body through arteries, and that veins returned the blood to be recycled. ...read more.


He lost patients because his ideas were considered eccentric. His work made little difference to general medical practice at the time because practices such as blood letting were still quite popular and seem to have worked, and it wasn't till the 20th century that doctors realized how important it was to check a patients blood flow by taking the pulse. His results were not purely negative, for Harvey did encourage other doctors to investigate blood circulation such as the bloods role in carrying oxygen to his lungs. Finally, after William Harvey's death in 1657, other doctors were convinced of his work and his correctness about blood circulation. Marcello Malpighi contributed to Harvey's work by convincing doctors about Harvey's theory by using better microscopes than the one's used in William Harvey's Time, discovering about the capillary network through the microscope. In conclusion, harvey's work laid the foundation of modern medicine for the circulatory system, a feat remarkable because Harvey did not use a microscope to figure out whatever he did. Harvey's second book, Essays on the generaton of animals, is also a wealthy mine on information about embryology and it's modern counterparts. ...read more.

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