LONDON Nov 7 "Circulation", a biography of the
17th century English physician William Harvey who accurately
described how blood circulates through the human body, has won
the Wellcome Trust Book Prize which celebrates medicine in
Also on the shortlist for the 25,000 pound ($40,000) prize
were novelists Rose Tremain ("Merivel: A Man of his Time") and
Peter James ("Perfect People") as well as academics and debut
Broadcaster Mark Lawson, who chaired a panel of judges
deciding the winner, said Circulation "combines scholarly
science with such narrative excitement that it will be a great
surprise if we do not eventually see 'Circulation: The Movie.
"The book itself deserves the widest possible circulation."
Author Thomas Wright, whose two previous works examined the
life and readings of Oscar Wilde, considered Harvey's
achievements as almost on a par with Darwin's theory of
evolution and Newton's theory of gravity.
Harvey, physician to King Charles I, produced a slim tome in
1628 examining the heart and blood circulation called "De Motu
Cordis" which became one of the most influential works in the
history of western science.
"Harvey's obsessive quest to understand the movement of the
blood overturned beliefs held by anatomists and physicians since
Roman times," publishers Random House said of the book.
"His circulation theory was as controversial in its day as
Copernicus' idea that the earth revolved around the sun."
Set in Renaissance London, the biography features a cast of
characters including Francis Bacon, England's Lord Chancellor
and a scientist in his own right, poet and preacher John Donne
and the king, Harvey's "beloved" patron.
(Reporting by Mike Collett-White, editing by Paul Casciato)