William Harvey

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William Harvey was a British physician who did what all good modern scientists are taught to do; which is upon coming across an inexplicable phenomenon, compose a hypothesis, research, collect data, devise a theory, then share this information with fellow scientists. . He obtained a Doctor of Physic diploma from the University of Padua in 1602. But Human Heredity, in the biological sense, was for many centuries only a metaphor. Because of his family status, Harvey had no problem obtaining a privileged education. He studied at the elite King’s School in Canterbury (1588–1594) and later at Gonville and Caius College of Cambridge University, where he received a B.A The noun itself (heredity) did not have the causal meaning that has come to characterize it. “We acknowledge God, the Supreme and Omnipotent Creator, to be present in the production of all animals, and to point, as it were, with a finger to His existence in His works. There Harvey studied under a student of Versalius, Fabricius, who had written a treatise on the valves in veins but hadn’t the vaguest idea about what they did other than that they might slow blood flow Since antiquity till the 18th century, the adjective “hereditary” was the one employed when a given trait was found to characterize a family or another genealogical group. When one reads the treatises that bear Hippocrates’ name, for many of these treatises are believed to have been written not by him but by his followers (1), one is impressed by the clinical acumen in the face of a nearly complete ignorance of the relation of disease to the structure and function of the human body. What remains of Hippocrates today is his “oath” (1); the physicians’ “Sermon on the Mount,” intended to initiate them into one of man’s noblest professions. Their attempts at providing coherent physical and metaphysical accounts of the human (and animal) existence faced both authors with the facts of the hereditary, especially when describing...
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