Michael J. Aziz earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Applied Physics from the California Institute of Technology and a Master of Science degree from Harvard University. For his Ph.D. in Applied Physics at Harvard he studied studying crystal growth kinetics under the guidance of David Turnbull. He spent two years at Oak Ridge National Laboratory as a Eugene P. Wigner Postdoctoral Fellow, where he studied materials processing with ion and laser beams. Aziz has been on the faculty at what is now the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences since 1986, and is now the Gene and Tracy Sykes Professor of Materials and Energy Technologies and the Area Chair for Materials Science and Mechanical Engineering.
Professor Aziz has made major contributions to the fields of applied physics and materials science. He was awarded the Bruce Chalmers Award by TMS "For basic theoretical and experimental contributions to the understanding of solute trapping, laser processing, and ion beam modifications of surfaces". He was elected a Fellow of the AAAS "For seminal studies of the non-equilibrium atomic-scale mechanisms underlying modern materials processing techniques", a Fellow of the APS "For unique experimental and theoretical contributions to our understanding of the kinetics of crystal growth in covalent systems, and of solute trapping in rapid solidification processing", and a Fellow of the MRS "For innovative contributions to our understanding of the kinetics of nonequilibrium phenomena in materials and for dedication to MRS and the materials community". He is the co-recipient of the 2019 Energy Frontiers Prize from Eni for pioneering research on aqueous organic flow batteries for grid-scale electrical energy storage.
As the energy-climate problem has become more urgent, the research interests of Professor Aziz have shifted to sustainability problems such as energy storage and CO2 capture. He has directed a multi-investigator research program on stationary electrical energy storage since 2012 and is co-inventor of the aqueous organic redox flow battery, with multiple patents that have been licensed for commercialization. He is a co-founder, equity holder, Chief Scientist, and member of the Board of Quino Energy, Inc., a 2021 Harvard spin-out company. He was the faculty coordinator for the Harvard University Graduate Consortium on Energy and Environment from 2009 to 2018. He developed an energy technology course for a broad audience and is currently authoring a textbook on energy technology.