William Harvey, English physician

William Harvey, English physician

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Credit: SHEILA TERRY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: William Harvey (1578-1657), English physician. Harvey is considered the founder of modern physiology for his work on the circulation of the blood. He used dissection and experimentation to demonstrate that blood is circulated around the body by the pumping action of the heart. This contradicted the beliefs of the previous 1300 years, that blood oscillates back and forth in the blood vessels. He published these views in a celebrated treatise of 1628 (lower left). He also conducted notable embryological research, proposing that all life forms originate from an egg. He was royal physician to King James I from 1618, and to King Charles I from 1640. Engraving from Vies des Savants Illustres (1876).

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