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William Harvey - Essay Example

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William Harvey is one of the greatest names in the history of medicine. He is credited with the laying out fo the details of the circulation system and how the circulation fo blood works in the body. William Harvey was born on April 1, 1578, in Kent and was educated in Canterbury…
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R.Preeti 12/4/2008 WILLIAM HARVEY William Harvey is one of the greatest s in the history of medicine. He is credited with the laying out fo the details of the circulation system and how the circulation fo blood works in the body. William Harvey was born on April 1, 1578, in Kent and was educated in Canterbury. Later, he was a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians. He married the daughter of a prominent London physician. Harvey was also known for his yeoman service, and the Harvey Grammar School is still a reality today. He left the world on June 12, 1657.
Harvey is most famous for observing and putting forth the working of the circulation system. He outlined how the heart pumps blood and also traversed the path it takes. While the valves in veins were already hinted at, by earlier physiologists, Harvey took it up as a challenge to find out the real purpose of valves and its functioning in the circulatory system of the body.
He also discovered the pulmonary circulation and the systemic circulation. He discovered that while the heart pumps blood through the arteries, that flow into the body, while the veins carried impure blood back to the heart. He experimented upon this by pushing in blood in the opposite direction, which certainly did not happen.

En route to discovering and letting t he world know about his great discovery, Harvey did stumble upon great many stones, mainly critics! Harvey's ideas were eventually accepted during his lifetime. His work was attacked, notably by Jean Riolan in Opuscula anatomica (1649) which forced Harvey to defend himself in Exercitatio anatomica de circulations sanguinis (also 1649) where he argued that Riolan's position was contrary to all observational evidence. [www.wikipedia.com]
Harvey lived in a time, when science was gaining importance. However, not much knowledge about t he circulatory system was known. It was a time, when a number of inventions and discoveries took place and propelled more inventions and observations. The Galenic tradition that was more prevalent in that time did not allow the periodic rise of Harvey's discovery; which, nonetheless gained momentum later on.
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