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William Harvey

Harvey, William, 1578–1657, English physician considered by many to have laid the foundation of modern medicine, b. Folkestone, studied at Cambridge, M.D. Univ. of Padua, 1602. Returning to London, he became a physician of St. Bartholomew's Hospital and a lecturer at the College of Physicians, and he was later appointed court physician. Harvey was first to demonstrate the function of the heart and the complete circulation of the blood, a feat especially remarkable because it was accomplished without the aid of a microscope. Acceptance of his theories was slow in coming, and it was not until 1827 that they were fully substantiated. He also contributed greatly to the advance of comparative anatomy and embryology. His famous Exercitatio anatomica de motu cordis et sanguinis in animalibus [ On the Movement of the Heart and Blood in Animals ] was published in 1628.

See the translation of his writings by K. J. Franklin (1963); biography by G. L. Keynes (1966); study by G. Whitteridge (1971).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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