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William Harvey

William Harvey became Royal Physician to James I and Charles I. He was a leading member of the Royal College of Surgeons and trained at the famous university in Padua, Italy.

Harvey's contribution to medical knowledge was great but the impact of his work was not immediate. In 1615 he conducted a comparative study on animals and humans. He realised that many of his findings on animals could be applied to Humans. Through this study he was able to prove that Galen had been wrong to suggest that blood is constantly being consumed. Instead, he argued, correctly, that blood was constantly pumped around the body by the heart. Harvey went on to identify the difference between arteries and veins and noted that blod changes colour as it passes through the lungs. Harvey also identified the way in which valves work in veins and arteries to regulate the circulation of blood.

An ilustration of William Harvey's findings. Source - wikimedia.


Links to biographies of Wiliam Harvey

Wikipedia's entry on William Harvey.

The Royal College of Physicians hosts an online exhibition about Harvey's work which includes a handy timeline of discoveries relating to blood and a nice summary of the factors that enabled his discoveries.


Links to Worksheets about William Harvey's work and significance provides an enquiry into Harvey's work with a pupil prompt sheet offering guidance.

Compton History provides a series of activities in the stye of source based examination questions.'s worksheet on William Harvey. The same site also provides a handy summary sheet about Harvey.








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