Mehdi Basati Panah: Curiosity, resilience, collaboration - these are the qualities of a modern young scientist”

1 February 2024 International activities 255

Mehdi Basati Panah is from Iran. He is a senior lecturer at the Higher School of Nuclear a Heat Power Engineering, winner of the International Olympiad Open Doors: Russian Scholarship Project. Why did he decide to come to our country? What made a lasting impression on him in St. Petersburg? Why is Polytechnic University valuable for modern world science? And what qualities do young scientists need? He spoke about this in an interview with our website.

Mehdi Basati Panah

— Why did you decide to come to Russia and choose the Polytechnic University?

— Russia boasts a remarkable legacy in the field of energy engineering, especially in the realm of power plants. The country’s pioneering work in nuclear power plants, traditional power plants, and advanced turbine technology is internationally renowned. This legacy, combined with Russia’s vibrant academic environment, made it a magnetic pull for someone deeply passionate about these subjects. I am grateful for the experiences and knowledge I’ve gained during my time here.

The choice of this Polytechnic University was a result of careful consideration. Firstly, this university has a well-established reputation as a leader in the field of energy, offering specialized programs that align perfectly with my academic interests. Moreover, the faculty here is composed of distinguished experts who are at the forefront of energy research. Lastly, the university’s strategic location in Russia, with access to key energy facilities and industries, offered unparalleled opportunities for hands-on research and real-world application of my studies. In sum, the Polytechnic University stood out as the ideal institution to nurture my passion for my major and empower me to make meaningful contributions to the field.

— What were your impressions when you first came to Russia?

— My first impressions upon arriving in Russia were a mix of excitement, curiosity, and a touch of apprehension. It was a significant step to move to a new country with a distinct culture and language. However, I was also eager to immerse myself in Russia’s rich history and academic environment. In hindsight, my first impressions were filled with a sense of adventure and a deep appreciation for the opportunities that lay ahead.

At the International BRICS+ Forum

— Tell us about your research and work at Polytechnic University

— My Ph.D. thesis focused on enhancing and optimizing turbines, a critical component in various industries. The primary objective was to develop innovative strategies to boost turbine efficiency and performance. These improvements have far-reaching applications, benefiting not only traditional power plants but also extending to nuclear power plants, as well as industries like oil and gas and aviation, where turbines play a pivotal role.

Throughout my research, I delved into cutting-edge technologies and explored novel approaches to turbine design and operation. Rigorous and meticulous analysis allowed me to identify key factors that could significantly enhance turbine output and reliability. The culmination of this research led to practical recommendations and solutions that can be implemented in real-world.

In my role at the university, I’ve worn multiple hats. Starting as an Assistant Professor, I’ve now transitioned into a senior lecturer position. I teach a range of courses covering turbines, power plants, and various power plant technologies and cutting-edge advancements. I have the privilege of working with diverse groups of students, each specializing in areas such as aviation, gas and steam turbines, nuclear power plants, power plants, gas compressor stations, compressors, and engines at the Energy Institute.

Furthermore, as a university member, I have collaborated with colleagues to organize both summer and winter schools, as well as excursions to various industry sites. This includes visits to the Leningrad Nuclear Power Plant and renowned Russian factories and companies such as Power Machines, REP Holding, SKTI, ODK, and Gazprom.

— Do you remember your first impressions of Polytechnic University?

— Yes, I vividly remember my initial experiences at Polytechnic University. They were marked by a sense of awe and anticipation. The campus itself was impressive, boasting state-of-the-art facilities and a vibrant academic atmosphere. I was immediately struck by the institution’s unwavering commitment to fostering innovation and research excellence.

Dmitry Arseniev, Mehdi Basati Panah, Professor Ali Bakouei, Andrei Rudskoi

— What are your plans for the future?

— In the future, I’m enthusiastic about continuing my journey in academia and research. Currently, as a senior lecturer, I derive immense joy from teaching and working with students, both inside and outside the classroom, including supervising theses and projects. My immediate goal is to secure an associate professor position and after that professor position, which would allow me to take on more responsibilities and engage in advanced research projects.

Furthermore, I plan to expand my research portfolio, delving deeper into the field of energy engineering, turbine technology, and sustainable energy solutions. Collaborating with experts, both in Russia and globally, is a priority for me, as it fosters a rich exchange of ideas and perspectives.

— Are students in Russia and in your country different?

— Yes, there are some differences in the educational approaches of students in Russia compared to my home country. One striking aspect is the emphasis on depth of knowledge and specialization in Russia. They often display a strong commitment to their chosen fields of study, which can be seen in their dedication to in-depth research and academic excellence.

— In your opinion, is the involvement of modern students in the educational process changing?

— The involvement of modern students in the educational process is indeed evolving in several notable ways. One of the most significant changes is the increasing integration of technology and digital resources in learning. Modern students have access to a vast array of information and online tools that can enhance their educational experience. This has led to a more self-directed and independent approach to learning. Students today actively seek opportunities to engage in hands-on projects, discussions, and real-world applications of their knowledge. They value experiential learning and are more likely to excel when they can see the practical relevance of their studies.

I derive immense joy from teaching and working with students

— What three important qualities do you think a student or young scientist should have in order to be successful?

— Success in academia and the sciences often hinges on a combination of qualities and attributes. However, if I were to distill it down to three key qualities, they would be:

Curiosity: A relentless curiosity to explore the unknown, ask questions, and seek answers is paramount. Curiosity is the driving force behind groundbreaking research and innovation.

Resilience: The journey of a student or young scientist can be challenging, filled with setbacks and obstacles. Resilience, the ability to bounce back from adversity, is crucial in persevering through tough times and pushing the boundaries of knowledge.

Collaboration: The modern scientific landscape is highly collaborative. Being open to collaboration, valuing diverse perspectives, and working effectively in teams are essential qualities. Together, researchers can achieve more significant breakthroughs and address complex global challenges.

These qualities, when cultivated and honed, can empower students and young scientists to excel in their academic and research endeavors.

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