Tag Archives: William Harvey

Christopher Wren and Blood Circulation

Richard de Grijs Sydney, Australia Daniel Vuillermin Beijing, China   An early instance of blood transfusion from lamb to man. (Credit: Wellcome Collection. CC BY 4.0) “A young man of marvellous gifts who, when not yet sixteen years of age, advanced astronomy, gnomonics, statics, and mechanics by his distinguished discoveries, and from then on continues […]

Human heart in Descartes’s De Homine

The famous philosopher René Descartes had an interest in physiology. But although he is known to have carried out dissections and even vivisections, he was a theoretician and not an experimentalist. In 1643 he wrote that having read William Harvey’s 1628 De Moto Cordis he agreed with the theory that the blood circulated through the […]

“Blood made White”: the relationship between blood and breastmilk in early modern England

Jennifer Evans Sara Read United Kingdom   Womb (uterus), enlarged, Hendrik Bary, after Reinier de Graaf, 1672, Rijksmuseum. The early modern body was thought to be composed of and ordered by an intricate balance of fluids, the most important of which was blood. Blood was universally understood to have two origins: the heart and the […]

A theologian answers questions about the heart: St. Thomas Aquinas’ De Motu Cordis

Michael Potts North Carolina, United States   An altarpiece in Ascoli Piceno, Italy by Carlo Crivelli (15th century) Suppose you are a high school teacher in a basic biology class and you have a question about the function of the heart. You decide to ask an expert, so you dial a university and ask for […]

William Harvey

Philip R. Liebson Chicago, Illinois, United States William Harvey (1578-1657)   The impression that William Harvey (1578-1657) discovered the closed circulation of the blood is not entirely accurate, although after Harvey there was never any doubt about it. Regardless of what credit you ascribe to him, it is clear that his research benefited from more […]