Mehdiyev Shafayat oglu was born in 1910 in Sarab of South Azerbaijan (Iran). In 1934, he was educated at the geological exploration faculty of the Azerbaijan Institute of Oil and Chemistry (now the Azerbaijan State University of Oil and Industry) with a degree in mining engineering.
In 1945 Sh.Mehdiyev received the degree of PhD and in 1950 Doctor of Geological and Mineralogical Sciences and Professor. In 1955 he was elected as a corresponding member and in 1958 – as an active member of the Academy of Sciences of Azerbaijan.
In 1954-1958 served as Director of the Institute of Geology. In 1958-1965 he was rector of Azerbaijan State University (now Baku State University). From 1965 he was the head of the department of geology of oil and gas of the Institute of Geology. In 1967-1970 - head of the Department of Geology and Exploration of Oil and Gas Fields, Institute of Oil and Chemistry, Azerbaijan.
An eminent scientist in the field of geology and geochemistry of oil and gas, he was one of those who laid the foundation of the Azerbaijani school of petroleum geologists. In addition, the scientist is the author of the theory of the biogenic origin of oil. He justified from a scientific point of view the need to use thermal waters and bituminous rocks in industry. Investigated a number of actual problems of experience and science of petroleum geology. He was the author of geological atlases, maps of various scales, as well as a responsible editor of the fundamental monographs on the geology and petroleum potential of Azerbaijan.
The scientist was a corresponding member of the International Commission on the History of Geological Sciences, chairman of the regional commission on the Caucasus and Transcaucasia of the Scientific Council of the USSR Academy of Sciences on the problems of geology and geochemistry of oil and gas. He was awarded the titles "Honored Scientist of Azerbaijan", "Honorary Oilman of the USSR" and "Honorary Worker of the USSR Gas Industry".
Sh.Mehdiyev was one of the co-authors of the discovery in the history of Azerbaijani science of "Patterns of the spatial and temporal distribution of volcanic eruptions" (International Diploma No. 239, 2003). Under the guidance of Professor Sh.Mehdiyev were trained over 70 Doctors of Science and PhDs. The scientist is the author of 400 scientific papers, including 40 monographs.
Sh.Mehdiyev was awarded the Order of the “Badge of Honor”, the “Red Banner of Labor”, various medals and Honorary diplomas of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Azerbaijan SSR for his scientific and social activities. At the same time, he was awarded the diplomas of the World Peace Council, the Soviet Peace Committee, the Ministry of Oil Industry and the “Vavilov Medal”.
Academician Shafaat Mehdiyev died in 1993 in Baku.