Sohrab Rabii, a professor emeritus of electrical & systems engineering at the University of Pennsylvania, died on July 18 of pancreatic cancer at home in the Spring Garden section of Philadelphia. He was 78 years old.
Born in Ahwaz, Iran, Dr. Rabii came to the US in 1958 on a study-abroad scholarship from the Iranian government. He earned his bachelor of science degree in engineering from the University of Southern California, then earned his master’s and doctoral degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He did advanced study at MIT and worked briefly for the Monsanto Corporation.
He joined the Penn faculty in 1969 as an assistant professor in what is now the School of Engineering & Applied Science. He became an associate professor in 1973. He was chair of the department of electrical engineering from 1977-1982. In 1985, he received the Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching.
Dr. Rabii was also a researcher known for his contributions to the condensed matter theory of carbon-based materials—what happens when carbon electrons and nuclei function in a condensed state. He was a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, a member of the American Physical Society and the author of 160 journal and conference papers.
He retired in 2006, but remained an integral part of the Penn Engineering community, regularly attending lectures and faculty meetings. He escorted Penn students to Mali and Ghana, where they set up computer and electrical engineering labs.
Dr. Rabii is survived by his wife, Susan B. Hunt; his former wife, Patricia B. Rabii; his daughters, Susan M. Zima and Elizabeth Rabii Cribbs; five grandchildren; three brothers; a sister; and nieces and nephews.