The New Student's Reference Work/Harvey, William

Har′vey, William (1578-1657), a distinguished English physician. He is one of the epoch-makers in helping to establish the modern method of science, as noteworthy on that account as for his famous discovery of the circulation of the blood. He is likely to be underestimated in the first direction and to be known only for a single piece of work. He graduated from Caius College, Cambridge, in 1597, and went to Padua to study medicine, receiving his diploma there as doctor in 1602. He practiced in London and became a lecturer in the College of Physicians. In his lectures he brought out, about 1619, his views on the circulation of the blood, and these were published in book form in 1628, under the title De Motu Cordis et Sanguinis (On the Movement of the Heart and Blood). But Harvey did not actually see the circulation through the capillaries. His conclusions were based on reasoning from anatomical facts. Malphighi was the first actually to see, in 1661, with the help of a microscope, the circulation of blood in the lungs of the frog, but Leeuwenhoek, in 1668 and thereafter, made so much more of this line of observation that he deserves greater credit. Harvey was a very original and independent thinker, and made many more observations. He was the first great embryologist. His works were translated from the Latin and published in English by the Ray Society. He was physician at St. Bartholomew Hospital and to the king, attending James I and Charles I. See his Life by Willis.