Thomas Wright's Circulation has won the £25,000 2012 Wellcome Trust Book Prize.
The Chatto title tells the life story of William Harvey, the scientist living in 17th century London who was the first to describe how blood circulates through the human body. Along the way, Harvey encountered poet John Donne and had Charles I as his patron.
Circulation beat titles by fello Chatto author Rose Tremain and Peter James to the award.
Chair of judges Mark Lawson said Circulation was "a book that 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."
The Wellcome Trust Book Prize rewards outstanding works of fiction and non-fiction on the theme of health and medicine.
Other titles shortlisted for the prize included John Coates’ The Hour Between Dog and Wolf (Fourth Estate); Nick Coleman’s The Train in the Night (Jonathan Cape); Mohammed Hanif’s Our Lady of Alice Bhatti (Vintage);, Peter James’ Perfect People (Pan), and Rose Tremain’s Merivel (Chatto).
The judging panel was made up of Lawson, blogger Dr Brooke Magnanti, neurosurgeon Henry Thomas Marsh, FT Weekend Magazine editor Sue Matthias and poet Ruth Padel.