Mathematics in The Physician

YouTube video

The Physician is a historical drama playing a party in 11 century England (London and other villages) and then, after traveling through Egypt in the town Isfahan of central Iran, an intellectual hub. It tells the story of a scholar who works first as a kid in a mine and follows a traveling “barber” to pursue study with the polymath Avicenna (Ibn Sina), played by Ben Kinsey. It shows the Islamic golden age and already some trouble appearing, mostly due to war and religion. Religion was similarly as in the west also a reason for doing science, as Mohammad told: “The scholar’s ink is holier than the martyr’s blood.” Astronomy was important for religious reasons and for navigation. Mathematics had also had significance as well as for practical reasons like measurements or trade. The word “algebra” comes from “al-jabr,” restoring balance, mend broken bones, which fits into the medical theme displayed in this movie. While math does not explicitly appear, there is a scene where resonance is mentioned, and then there is the scene of the “music of the spheres.” Aristotle is mentioned a couple of times as he plays a vital role in medieval Islam.