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ABU ALI IBN-SINA (AVICENNA)
Ibn-Sina (Avicenna), great son of the Tajik people, lives in the memory of the nations as scientist and philosopher, author and physician. A truly encyclopaedic mind, Ibn-Sina summed up and enriched the learning of his age and made great contributions to many different branches of knowledge.
Abu Ali Ibn-Sina is one of the most famous men of the late 10-th and early 11-th century. Ibn-Sina was born in the village of Afshana near Bukhara. He attended school in Bukhara and displayed a remarkable memory and uncommon ability. Since the schools of the time had too little to offer he arranged for one of the merchants to teach him numbers and geometry. From his teacher of philosophy Ibn-Sina got certain notions of logic.
After memorizing the Koran in Arabic the youth devoted himself to the study of medicine. He worked very hard. Ibn-Sina wrote mostly in Arabic since this was the language of learning in the East, much as Latin was in Europe. In his own language from which modern Tajik is derived he wrote the “Book of Knowledge “ with sections on logic, nature, astronomy, and music, and also certain other works.
Ibn-Sina won world renown as the author of the “Canon of Medicine”, a comprehensive work in five books with sections of the fundamentals of medical science (anatomy, physiology, symptomatology, prevention of disease, and general dietetics, and therapy), on ailments confined to particular organs and ailments not so confined (e.g. fever, infectious diseases, poisonings, skin diseases, and surgical ailments), on remedies administered without admixtures, and on the composition and prevention of compound remedies. The “Canon” was translated into Latin, which made it accessible to European physicians and was widely used in European universities. The Latin translation alone has some 30 editions.
Many centuries before the inception of bacteriology Ibn-Sina declared that diseases can be spread by water owing to the presence in it of invisibly minute living organisms. Some of his clinical accounts are remarkably accurate and many of his suggestions for diet and treatment are quite valid for modern medicine too.
Besides the “Canon” Ibn-Sina wrote works on particular aspects and problems of medicine such as on gastric diseases, on cardiac remedies, on the pulse, and on “the physician’s contest with the forces of Nature” in which he considered a correct regimen and health building through exercise.
With the development of scientific European medicine ‘the Canon” for so many centuries the standard work, has become a classic of the past. It was used in European medical schools right up to the 17-th century, and in the East it is frequently consulted even today.
Apart from medicine Ibn-Sina wrote on the structure on earth and sky, on chemistry, on geography, logic, the Arabic language, astrology and much else.
Both his writings and his practical activities were extremely progressive for his day. The works of Ibn-Sina – Avicenna – were a contribution made to world culture.
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