William Harvey and the Mechanics of the Heart

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Oxford University Press, USA, Oct 30, 2003 - Biography & Autobiography - 141 pages
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William Harvey is the riveting story of a seventeenth-century man of medicine and the scientific revolution he sparked with his amazing discoveries about blood circulation within the body. Jole Shackelford traces Harvey's life from his early days in Folkstone, England, to his study of medicine in Padua through his rise to court physician to King James I and King Charles I, where he had the opportunity to conduct his research in human biology and physiology. Harvey's lecture notes show that he believed in the role of the heart in circulation of blood through a closed system as early as 1615. Yet he waited 13 years, until 1628, to publish his findings, when he felt more secure at introducing a concept counter to beliefs that had been held for hundreds of years. A revealing look at the changing social, religious, and political beliefs of the time, William Harvey documents how one man's originality helped introduce a new way of conducting scientific experiments that we still use today.

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About the author (2003)

Jole Shackelford, Assistant Professor in the Program in the History of Medicine, received the B.S., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees in the History of Science from the University of Wisconsin, with an emphasis on early science and medicine. His research interest is in early modern European medicine, particularly the social and intellectual responses to the chemical, medical and religious ideas of Paracelsus. Currently he has begun his next major research project, an NSF funded study mapping the historical dissemination of chronobiological concepts in biomedicine, biology, and engineering.

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