Summer 1996 (4.2)
Scientists That Made a Difference
by Anne Kressler
Dr. Azad Mirzajanzade (MIR-za-jan-za-de) is considered to be one of the foremost scientists in Azerbaijan, especially among oil scientists. But his knowledge extends far beyond science and technology. There's something of a philologist inside him as well as philosopher, humanist, and perhaps most of all, a humorist.
Music is a big part of his life, too. He prefers Azerbaijani composers, Uzeyir Hajibeyov and Gara Garayev to Bach, Brahms, Beethoven, and Chopin though he appreciates them, too-depending on his mood. Probably, if you asked him to summarize the real Mirzajanzade, he'd admit that he's a person deeply in love with learning.
Mirzajanzade is credited with a lot of "firsts" in science though he insists he's only an average science person "Whatever I achieved came from lots of hard work," he'll tell you.
He entered the university when he was 15 in 1949. For his graduation project in 1949, he proposed a formula which is now known as "Mirzajanzade's Formula." It was an extremely unique achievement for someone so young.
He explains his formula this way: "There are three types of liquids. The first is like water. When you stir it in a circle, it doesn't change. The second type is like gelatin, when you stir, it liquidates. This type has the quality of viscosity. The third type is like elastic liquid. It thickens. So each type of liquid requires a certain amount of force to be stirred. My formula helps you figure out how amount of force is required for each type of these liquids."
Two years after graduation from the Azerbaijan Industrial Institute, he defended his Candidate's Thesis (Doctorate) which was entitled, "Elements of Hydraulics of Argillaceous Solutions." In 1957, he wrote his Postdoctorate thesis on the "Problems of Hydro-mechanics of Viscous Plastic and Viscous Liquid." Again it was the first time research had been done in these areas.
At 34, he became a Corresponding Member of the Academy of Sciences; and at 40, a Full Member. It was an extremely young age for such an accomplishment.
Today expressions like "School of Mirzajanzade," "Equation of Mirzajanzade" "Law of Mirzajanzade" have become commonplace. Teaching is a great love of his. More than 200 Doctorate Degrees and 100 Post-Doctorate Dissertations have been defended under his supervision. He's been recognized with some of the highest awards in science available to him. They include 3 Gubkin Prizes, which is one of the highest prizes in oil and gas bestowed in the USSR.
In 1980, he was awarded the State Prize of Azerbaijan for a series of works on the "Mechanics of Technological Processes in Oil and Gas Output. In 1986, he was honored with the prize from the Council of Ministers of the USSR for "The Creation and Organization of Serial Production and the Introduction of New Tamping Materials in Oil and Gas Wells.
That year, he also won the State Prize of Azerbaijan Republic for his textbook, "Physics of the Oil Pool." Mirzajanzade was one of those scientists who did get the chance to travel abroad. He's delivered lectures in Poland, Hungary, Algeria, Syria, Turkey and Bulgaria. His practical experience is very broad. "I've worked almost everywhere there is oil and gas," he admits, starting with Baku and then on to Ufa, Siberia and Moscow." Even these days, he goes back and forth to Moscow.
Tapping Azerbaijan Resources
Mirzajanzade has confidence in Azerbaijani scientists although the transition from a centralized economy to market economy is extremely difficult on them.
He's convinced that the international companies which are getting involved with oil projects in Baku would do very well to become familiar with the scientific educational institutions and the specific research institutes that exist all over the city as Azerbaijanis have a lot to offer the scientific production of these projects.
"When Western people come here, they first think that they have come to the jungle, that nobody understands anything here. That's Moscow's attitude, too. I tell them, it's true we were poor; we were forbidden many things. We had many restrictions but we were not forbidden to think. I explain that science is higher here than in the West because we had to work with very simple equipment and so had to think how to get effective results with simple machines. The simpler the machine, the more you have to think. So we had to use our brains.
"The result is," according to Mirzajanzade, "that production of oil in the former Soviet Union occurred with very little investment in science and it resulted in a higher level than in the USA. Some of the projects that we were working on ten years ago, they're only beginning to explore now in the US."
Afik Allahverdiyev and Jala Garibova contributed to this article.
From Azerbaijan International (4.2) Summer 1996
© Azerbaijan International 1996. All Rights Reserved.