Robert Jarvik

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by RachaelSkye
Last updated 5 years ago

Discipline:
Science
Subject:
Scientific Biographies

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Robert Jarvik

Robert Jarvik

ReceptionInitially, the Jarvik-7 was celebrated. Jarvik became a worldwide celebrity, and even though the person it was first implanted lived for only 112 days, it was a significant achievement. There were some debates about the ethics of the heart, mostly asking whether it is right put machines into people. This, however, did little to stop the celebrity of Jarvik. Unfortuanately, due to fatal errors such as being prone to cause strokes, the Jarvik-7 was never approved for more than experimental or temporary implantations, and was eventually banned. Despite flaws, Jarvik's work opened up the way for future inventions and thus is still celebrated today.

ImpactThough his initial discovery was rather dysfunctional, Robert Jarvik's work was groundbreaking. Without his work, we would not have the same level of ability to create artificial organs today. Many people throughout the world today benefit from some artificial organ. Scientists still have not cracked the clotting problem, relagating artificial hearts to lifesaving temporary measures while waiting for a transplant. However, there is a model of permanent artificial heart being tested that may come out as early as 2013.

ContributionRobert Jarvik became famous in 1982 when he invented the first artificial heart to be implanted in a human. While the idea was not new and he worked with others, his was the first approved for experimental implantation. The Jarvik-7, as it was called, was huge and clunky, requiring tubes to outside connected to machines that the patient had to be constantly hooked into. It could also be prone to causing strokes and seiizures due to clotting, and was banned from use in 1990. However, Jarvik went on to found an artificial organ research company and his work allowed others to invent artificial hearts still in use today.

About Robert JarvikRobert Jarvik was born in Michigan, 1946, but moved to Conneticut soon after his birth, where he was raised with an interest in inventing. He went to Syracuse University, changing his major to a premedical program when his father got heart diesease. He graduatated, but no American colleges would accept him and he had to attend the University of Bologna in Italy. After graduating, he came back to the states where he became widely known for his groundbreaking inventions He wedded journalist Elaine Levin and had two children, but remarried in 1987 to writer Marilyn vos Savant, reported by Guiness Book of World Records to hold the highest IQ in the world.

What they thoughtRobert Jarvik is famous for his invention of the artificial heart. However, this idea didn't come from nowhere. Before he perfected his heart, he worked with Dr. Willem Kolff, who had been trying to create an artificial heart since the 1950's. One of Jarvik's breaks with convention that allowed him to create a working heart was the substitution of a biomer container instead of a rubber one, which cause potentially fatal blood clots.

The Jarvik-7

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Robert Jarvik

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Why we're better nowThe ideas of these two scientists will be effecting us for generations to come. Lavoisier developed ideas that lead to a new area of science. This science, chemistry, has given us much. A lot today relies on chemistry. As people expanded the field based on Lavoisier's ideas, they created many things. Medicines and materials like plastic are two things highly effected by chemistry, as their making involves the reactions that Lavoisier described. Jarvik, while he has not created an entirely new field, has saved lives. His innovations in the area of artificial organs allowed many to survive the wait for a heart transplant. and opened the way for a permanent mechanical heart, which may be on its way.

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ComparisonRobert Jarvik and Antoine Lavoisier worked in two radically different fields. Lavoisier was a theorist in chemistry who actually pioneered little but was very influential. Jarvik, however, was an inventor and physically created his great contribution to society. Though the two's methods had little in common, they share a few characteristics. They both made contributions to science that were critical to future developments. Also, their ideas came late enough into the scientific field so as to be readily accepted- not ostracized or killed as some predecessors were. However, there the similarities cease. Lavoisier challenged an established idea through thoughtful experimentation and founded a science. Jarvik, while his inventions are very important, was not really challenging any assumptions. They were both great scientists, just in different ways

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