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Tag: Islamic history


Peer Review

Peer Review was first described by al-Rahwi, working in Damascus in the ninth century AD. In his ‘The Ethics of the Physician’, he states that the physician must always make duplicate notes of a patient’s condition on every visit. He said this was important so that when the patient has been discharged or has died, one set of notes can be given to a local medical council, to ascertain whether satisfactory medical care was provided. It was the start of lawsuits for medical malpractice… something that many a legal service may have wish was never invented at all.




Just like the Classical world before and the so called Renaissance Men after, the golden age of Islam was championed by polymaths, whose works rival those of Aristotle, Da Vinci or Newton.

The Arab polymaths arrived in the Renaissance under their Latinised names. For example,

1.    Ibn Sina was Avicenna

2.    Ibn Bajjah was Avempace

3.    Ibn Hayyan was Geber

4.    Ibn Rushd was Averroes

5.    Al-Kindi was Alkindus

6.    Ibn al-Haytham was Alhazen

They were so important because they used breakthroughs in one area to push forward knowledge and understanding in another. Indeed, ‘Polymathy’ is a method that has almost been lost in the West, and is only now being rediscovered – so called ‘interdisciplinary’ study. (e.g. Stanford University’s new Bio-X Program, which brings together biologists, computer scientists, medical scientists and engineers, who learn from each other’s fields). The scientists and Polymaths from the golden age worked on areas of science which are familiar to us all, and are still being studied in schools and universities today, with the same scientific method.