I am pleased to hear of your interest in our graduate program. All admissions decisions are made by the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences Graduate Admissions Committee. Please see the following SEAS web pages:
I am sorry that I cannot correspond with each applicant individually. Regarding doing your Ph.D. research in my own research group, let me say that your application will be read very carefully. Each year I recommend to the Admissions Committee the admission of the 1 to 3 most outstanding students in the applicant pool with interests in this field, and the committee usually follows my recommendation. Good luck with the application process!
Harvard has a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program administered by our Materials Research Science and Engineering Center and our Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center. It can take US citizens and permanent residents, as well as non-US citizens currently enrolled at a US undergraduate institution who have an F-1 visa. More information and applications are available at
Of course there are non-job opportunities for guided research for course credit. Many departments offer a course such as Engineering Sciences 91r for students enrolled in Harvard College and I would be happy to discuss such opportunities with you before or at the beginning of the semester.
My students are my highest priority. But please realize that I cannot be pen pals in corresponding about homework problems or the finer points of the course, due to this repetitive strain injury. I seem to have only a limited number of keystrokes per day, and that number isn't known in advance. So a phone call (5-9884) is likely to be far more effective for this purpose. Also, sometimes a couple of days can go by when I don't have time to even look at my email. If you don't hear from me by the time you need to hear from me, please do not hesitate to contact me, the TFs, or my assistant by all the means I have given you in class.
I will do this when I can, but please keep in mind that Harvard hired me to do a job: teaching and research. I sometimes go through periods in which it is hard to find enough hours in the week to fulfill my already-existing commitments.
Please email the title, authors, and if possible the abstract / project summary, and I'll let you know as soon as possible if I can review the manuscript / proposal. If the request is from a journal I publish in or an organization I receive research funding from, I will try my hardest to find time. Even then, however, my review inbox sometimes gets so backlogged that it's hopeless to add another, and in that case I believe it's better to say 'no' at the outset than to leave you and the author / principal investigator hanging for an unfairly long period of time.
The new email program seems to automatically control these much better than did the old. If it's still not good enough, try programming your spam filter to intercept a message from "Aziz" with "Automatic reply:" in the subject line. Even the new program won't permit me to customize the 'latency' (period for which the program won't send an additional bounce-back to the same address) so I'm still pretty much at its mercy. I'm really sorry about the trouble.