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William Harvey Quotes


William Harvey
  • Mini Bio
  • Name: William Harvey
  • Born: 1st April 1578, Folkestone, Kent, England
  • Died: 3rd June 1657, Roehampton, London, England
  • Resting place: St. Andrew's Church, Hempstead, Essex, England
  • Alma mater: Gonville and Caius College Cambridge and University of Padua
  • Occupation: Physician and anatomist
  • Famous works: "De Motu Cordis" in 1628
  • Scientific fields: Medicine and anatomy
  • Influenced by: Andeas Vesalius, Galen, Galileo Galilei and Hieronymus Fabricius
  • Inspired: Marcello Malpighi, RenĂ© Descartes and John Simon
  • Trivia: The William Harvey Hospital was built in his honour in the town of Ashford which is located 15 miles north of his birth place Folkestone in the English county of Kent
  • Scroll down for full bio and many great quotes

"Civilization is only a series of victories against nature"

William Harvey

"The heart of animals is the foundation of their life, the sovereign of everything within them, the sun of their microcosm, that upon which all growth depends, from which all power proceeds"

William Harvey

"Many things are discovered by accident and that many may be learned indifferently from any quarter, by an old man from a youth, by a person of understanding from one of inferior capacity"

William Harvey

"They do not esteem it discreditable to desert error, though sanctioned by the highest antiquity, for they know full well that to err, to be deceived, is human"

William Harvey

"They observe that the dull and unintellectual are indisposed to see what lies before their eyes, and even deny the light of the noon-day sun"

William Harvey

"Even as they see that the credulous and vain are disposed at the first blush to accept and believe everything that is proposed to them"

William Harvey

"Man comes into the world naked and unarmed, as if nature had destined him for a social creature, and ordained him to live under equitable laws and in peace"

William Harvey

"The studious and good and true, never suffer their minds to be warped by the passions of hatred and envy"

William Harvey

"Nature is a volume of which God is the author"

William Harvey

"All we know is still infinitely less than all that remains unknown"

William Harvey

"I appeal to your own eyes as my witness and judge"

William Harvey

"Doctrine once sown strikes deep its root, and respect for antiquity influences all men"

William Harvey

"As art is a habit with reference to things to be done, so is science a habit in respect to things to be known"

William Harvey

"I avow myself the partisan of truth alone"

William Harvey

"Memory cannot exist without endurance of the things perceived, and the thing perceived cannot remain where it has never been"

William Harvey

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William Harvey Biography

William Harvey was the royal physician to the crown who served King Charles I having previously impressed by challenged the medical establishments thinking by accurately describing blood circulation being pumped from the heart through the body and returning back in a constant flow.



His meticulous research was inspired by some in the medical profession questioning the centuries old accepted concept of the Greek physician Galen who theorised that blood was consumed by the body and had to be constantly replenished. This theory led to the belief that "blood letting" was the best cure for most ailments and diseases and although some questioned this theory no one had scientifically proven it to be untrue.

After painstaking research Harvey published his findings in the 1628 book "De Motu Cordis" which was originally written in latin. His research proved that blood was pumped from the heart through the body in a circuit and returned to heart in a constant and unceasing flow.

Harvey's calculations showed the volume of blood being pumped through the body in one hour could not be regenerated during that time frame. Many medical professionals of the day had lucrative blood letting businesses that were popular with patients of the era so these and other vested interests meant it took nearly 20 years for his research to become mainstream.

William's remarkable work caught the attention of royalty and King Charles I made him his personal physician and he followed the king for a number of years including to the battle of Edgehill on 23rd October 1642.

Away from the anatomy table of dissection he appreciated the arts of literature and was an avid bird watcher in his free time. He was also good for a one liner so this is my compilation of 15 of the best William Harvey quotes

Quotes About William Harvey

The author Richard Bergland recognised his contribution to academia: "Few would have predicted that the discovery of the circulation of the blood would have changed the way philosophers view the world, theologians conceive of God, or astronomers look at the stars, yet all of that happened"

The 17th century poet Abraham Cowley was inspired to say: "Harvey sought for truth in Truth's own book - Creation - which by God himself was writ"

The Cambridge academic Robert Willis described him thus: "One of the great men whom God, in virtue of his eternal laws, bids to appear on earth from time to time to enlighten, and to ennoble mankind"


William Harvey image quote