The Discovery of Blood Circulation
The tale of this discovery is one of ingenuity, imagination and perseverance, and a remarkable use of experiment, observation and skill. In the seventeenth century, William Harvey, physician to King James I and Charles I, made one of the greatest discoveries in anatomy, revolutionising our understanding of the human body. He found that the blood vessels form a closed system and that the blood circulates rapidly around the body, pumped by the heart. Having stood unchallenged for 1,500 years, the accepted view - that blood was generated in the liver and slowly consumed by the body - was overthrown.
Andrew Gregory's extraordinary account of Harvey's crucial work places it against the background of the art and science of the Renaissance, and narrates the dramatic struggle Harvey fought for its acceptance.
Andrew Gregory is Lecturer in History of Science in the Department of Science and Technology Studies at University College London.