Shabnam Raayai, a brilliant Iranian Bahá’í, who was expelled from Iran’s best engineering university because she was a Bahá’í, was accepted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where she received a doctorate in Mechanical Engineering. She then entered Harvard University for post doctorate work in physics. Recently she was awarded the 2018 Andreas Acrivos Dissertation Award in Fluid Dynamics, one of the most distinguished academic awards in physics.  She is only the second woman to ever be awarded the prize. 

This is the description of the subject of her dissertation: “For experimental and theoretical contributions to understanding the mechanisms by which microtextured riblet surfaces can reduce (or increase) the viscous frictional drag experienced in high Reynolds number laminar boundary layer flows, and Taylor Couette flows.” She deserves a Ph.D. for just understanding what that means!

The United Nations, Amnesty International, the European Union, the United States, and peer-reviewed academic literature have stated that the members of the Bahá’í community in Iran have been subjected to unwarranted arrests, false imprisonment, beatings, torture, unjustified executions, confiscation and destruction of property owned by individuals and the Bahá’í community, denial of employment, denial of government benefits, denial of civil rights and liberties, and denial of access to higher education. See for more information about the Bahá’í Faith.