Mehdi Behzad is a mathematician of Iranian origin specializing in graph theory. His Total coloring Conjecture (widely known as Behzad’s Conjecture or the Total Chromatic Number Conjecture) was introduced in 1965 as part of his Ph.D. dissertation. In spite of active work, including publication of books and hundreds of papers by mathematicians, and partial results in the last half a century, this conjecture remains as challenging as it is open. In fact, the Total Chromatic Number Conjecture now belongs to mathematics’ classic open problems.
Dr. Behzad is the coauthor of two text books on graph theory published in the United States in 1972 and 1979, which were among the key references on this relatively new field of mathematics. He was a member of the editorial board of Journal of Graph Theory for two terms since its inception. He has been also a fellow of the Institute of Combinatorics and its Applications since its inception and his Erdős Number is 1 (i.e., he has been one of the direct collaborators of late Paul Erdős, the second-most prolific mathematician of all time after Euler).
Professor Behzad was the first faculty member of Sharif University of Technology, formerly Arya-Mehr University of Technology, who was promoted to full professor in this institution. He was a Senior Fulbright Scholar at Michigan State University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the academic year 1974-75, where his research was fully supported by U.S. National Academy of Sciences. He has taught courses in several universities in the United States and Iran, and has published many papers. Although in 1981, he decided to retire as a university professor at the age of 45, he has continued to serve the Iranian scientific community in different capacities.
In the last 50 years, he has contributed significantly to institutionalizing, advancement as well as popularization of basic sciences and mathematics in Iran. In recognition of his executive contributions, the Iranian Mathematical Society has established the Dr. Mehdi Behzad’s Award, an annual multinational award for individuals with outstanding leadership role in advancement of mathematics in their respective countries.