Einstein is easily regarded as one of the most intelligent scientists of our time. Funnily enough, most of us wouldn’t be able to succinctly say why he was deemed so intelligent – especially after history has showcased dozens of intelligent men who could cream Einstein at a chess match. Interestingly, a lot of them are from medieval times. Here are ten of them . . .
Avicenna, or Abū ʿAlī al-Ḥusayn ibn ʿAbd Allāh ibn Sīnā, was a Muslim scholar who revolutionized the field of medicine during Islam’s Golden Age in the 11th century. Of the some 200 academic texts he wrote, by far his most influential was The Canon of Medicine. This was basically a comprehensive encyclopedia on the field of medicine with many annotations that were ahead of their time. For example, Avicenna proposed a completely new set of protocols to test new medicines that included modern measures such as testing different strains and testing a large sample size. It also included never before translated Greek ideas in medicine, such as the idea that disease spread through the air. His book was so valued, every major medical college used it as their standard textbook until the mid-1700s.
9 Ibn Khaldun
Ibn Khaldun is regarded by modern historians as the father of historiography. He is the first recorded historian to record the various accounts of any particular event in history. However his work goes way beyond that. Despite being a theologian, philosopher, and logician, Ibn Khaldun viewed himself primarily as a historian. As such, he placed most of his effort into writing his magnum opus, al-Kitābu l-ʻibār, his history of the world. Khaldun originally meant for it to cover the history of the Berbers, but later expanded it to include the rest of the world as well as his insights into Arabic syntax and morphology. It has been hailed as “a philosophy of history which is undoubtedly the greatest work of its kind that has ever yet been created by any mind in any time or place.”
8 Paul of Aegina
Paul of Aegina was a traveling Byzantine physician from the 7th century who wrote a massive encyclopedia called Medical Compendium in Seven Books. Paul wasn’t actually very well known by Europeans; however he was very well praised by Arab physicians. So whatever we know about him, we know from them, and it isn’t much. We do know he had some sort of procedure in place for c-sections and that midwives consulted him frequently. His works inspired and influenced many of the top physicians in the arab world.