While he apprenticed as a cobbler and a barber in childhood, Santiago Ramón y Cajal later took up medicine inspired by his father, a professor of anatomy. Cajal’s study of the microscopic structure of the human brain later formed the basis of neuroscience and earned him a Nobel Prize.
Al-Zahrawi was an Arab Andalusian chemist, surgeon, and physician. Dubbed the father of modern surgery, Al-Zahrawi is widely regarded as the greatest surgeon of the Middle Ages. Al-Zahrawi was the first surgeon to use catgut for stitches and his pioneering contributions had an enormous effect in the West and East. Some of his discoveries are part of modern medical sciences.
Nobel Prize-winning Spanish biochemist Severo Ochoa is remembered for his discovery of the enzyme polynucleotide phosphorylase and his subsequent success in synthesizing RNA. His research took him to top institutes such as the universities of Oxford and Heidelberg. He had also taught at the New York University.
Ibn Tufail was a 12th-century Arab polymath from Andalusia and a significant figure of the Islamic Golden Age. Best known for his philosophical romance Ḥayy ibn Yaqẓān, he had also penned medical works in Arab and had been the court physician of Abū Yaʿqūb Yūsuf.
Spanish Jewish poet, physician, and philosopher Judah Halevi is remembered for his significant contributions to the development of Hebrew poetry. Best known for Sefer ha-Kuzari and his poems in Dīwān, he was greatly influenced by Arabian literature. His travels eventually took him to Egypt, where he died.
8 Ibn Zuhr
Spanish Basque writer Pío Baroja was a qualified doctor and practiced medicine in northern Spain for a few years before returning to Madrid to manage his family bakery. Part of the Generation of ’98, he penned iconic works such as the series Memoirs of a Man of Action.
Spanish Arab philosopher and scholar Avempace excelled in a variety of subjects, such as astronomy, music, medicine, and poetry. His treatise on botany Kitāb an-Nabāt described how plant sexes differ. His other works include Tadbīr al-mutawaḥḥid. He was believed to be an atheist by many.
One of most significant Hebrew grammarians of the 11th century, Jonah ibn Janah was initially a physician but later became a pioneer in the study of the Hebrew syntax. He is remembered for his works al-Mustalha and Kitāb at-tanqiḥ, and for his exegesis of religious texts.