Al-Farabi (870-950) – a great scientist, philosopher, astronomer, mathematician, and physician, his full name was Abu Nasr Mukhammed ibn Mukhamed ibn Tarkhan ibn Uzlag al-Farabi at-Turki; he was born in Farabe city (also known as Otrar) on the Syr Darya river, to the family of a noble Turkic military leader.

The greatest historians of culture and science have noted Al-Farabi’s importance and distinction. He took interest in astronomy, logic, theory of music, mathematics, sociology, ethics, medical science, psychology, philosophy and law. In his youth, Al-Farabi left home to journey to cities related to Islam and the Arabian Caliphate, from Bukhara, Merv and Khoran, to Alexandria, Cairo, and Damascus; he spent many years in Baghdad, then the political and cultural centre of the Arabian Caliphate. Here he studied at the House of Wisdom, Beyt al-Hikma, and worked with prominent scientists until he achieved a prominence of his own. It was in Baghdad that he was honoured with the title Muslim assana (the second teacher) – the first had been Aristotle.

Al-Farabi advanced the logic developed by his great Greek predecessor; the uncompromising courage of his views clashed with public opinion; his direct attacks against prejudices of the time brought charges of heresy and abandonment of religion, but he demonstrated his independent thinking by consistently defending his beliefs.

The name of al-Farabi has been given to Kazakh National University (KazNU), an avenue in Almaty, and the Shymkent Pedagogical Institute.