Amin Amirlatifi has a meticulous eye for detail and an insatiable thirst for knowledge, but his laser focus on important petroleum engineering research doesn’t take away from his ability to also focus on individuals.
He takes time to invest in personal relationships because he values people and believes students are the hope of the future.
An assistant professor in the Bagley College of Engineering and the Dave C. Swalm School of Chemical Engineering, Amirlatifi said he grew up as a part of an academic family—his father a university professor and his mother a high school teacher.
Although he has worked in industry, he said he can’t imagine a career apart from academia. With his wife Somayeh “Maya” Bakhtiari Ramezani currently pursuing a Ph.D. in computer engineering, his young children are quickly picking up a love for science—his 9-year-old daughter already demonstrates a passion for robotics.
A native of Iran, Amirlatifi has been a part of the Bulldog family for just over 4 years, and he said Starkville is home. He joined the university as the first petroleum engineering faculty member hired when MSU reinstated this program in 2016. The program enjoyed success when it initially launched in the 1960s, but it was discontinued in the mid-1990s, affected by budget cuts.
“The alumni always supported the program and supported bringing it back,” Amirlatifi said, emphasizing how MSU’s alumni engagement is one of the university’s strengths. “I have not seen such support anywhere else. The connection is beyond imaginable.”
Amirlatifi explained that he draws inspiration from many of the people he’s met through the university, as well as professors he studied under at the University of Petroleum Technology in Iran, the University of Calgary in Canada, and Missouri University of Science and Technology, where he completed his Ph.D.
“Dr. Bill Cobb was one of the early graduates of this program in the 1960s and went on to get his Ph.D. at Stanford. He had his own consulting company and was the Society of Petroleum Engineering president. He’s an endless ocean of knowledge, yet he’s so humble and friendly, you feel like you’ve known him your whole life. That’s the type of person I hope to be,” Amirlatifi said when asked about his aspirations and goals.
Pointing to other mentors and scientists who have advanced the field, he observed, “When you look at their academic standing, after a certain point, they are not seeking the pride in being known, but their quest is in helping other people and making good role models.”
Amirlatifi stretches his workday late into the night in his quest for answers to research problems in the areas of enhanced oil recovery in unconventional reservoirs, geo-steering, real-time data monitoring and predictive maintenance in industrial settings, correlation of induced seismicity and deep saltwater disposal, quantum computing, synthetic photosynthesis and wellbore stability, among others.
He relishes the fact that academia gives him the freedom to explore topics that may not be immediately profitable to study, but which are none-the-less imperative to society.
He also serves as faculty adviser for MSU’s chapter of the Society of Petroleum Engineers and the Petroleum Honor Society.
“I try to help students as much as possible because without them, we are nothing. They are our future leaders, engineers, scientists and parents. They are the future of our society,” he said.