Physics 90r (Supervised Research) and Physics 91r (Supervised Reading) have provided valuable instruction and experience for many students. To learn about what research is taking place in the Physics Department, you can peruse the faculty webpages. If you wish to study with an instructor not listed and/or work on a topic not mentioned, contact the desired instructor directly to discuss your interest and his/her availability to supervise you. For all students, except those enrolled in the "Biophysics Option," the following rules normally apply:
- Each Reading or Research program must include a very significant amount of physics.
- Each Reading or Research program must not include topics covered at a similar level in regular courses.
- The supervisor must be a member of the Harvard Teaching Faculty. He/she may also be a member of the Teaching Faculty of other institutions, such as MIT, but this requires prior approval by the Co-Director of Undergraduate Studies, Dr. David Morin.
Regardless of what your research or reading topic is and whom you choose as your supervisor, if you wish to sign up for Phys 90r or 91r, please do the following:
- Pick up a Phys90/91r Study Plan form from David Morin in Lyman 238 (or print it out here), write a description of your planned program (one paragraph to one-half page), and have it approved and signed by your supervisor.
- Return the signed description together with your study card to David Morin for his approval before study card day. Please note that David Morin, not your supervisor, must sign your study card.
The general procedure for finding a lab to work in is to (1) find a few professors whose work interests you, and then (2) send out emails and/or knock on doors to see if they have any projects available. Most professors have at least a few undergraduates working in their labs, so there are many opportunities. You might find that a few professors don't have any projects available at the moment, but you will undoubtedly also find a few who do.
Note that it is much easier to do experimental research than theoretical research as an undergrad. If you like theory and can find a professor who has a theoretical project available, then go for it. But nearly all the 90r's that students do are experimental. If you consider yourself a theorist, then don't worry, there's more than enough theory to learn in any experimental project you'll be involved with.