Michael Ruiz, Ph.D.

Professor of Physics
124D Rhoades/Robinson Hall

Office Hours

  • Mon: 

    • 10:45 - 11:45 a.m.
    • 1 - 2 p.m.
  • Tue: 

    • 11:15 - 11:45 a.m.
  • Thu: 

    • 11:15 - 11:45 a.m.


Michael, a former department chair for 20 years (1980-2000), played a significant role in building our strong department. He received the university-wide UNC Asheville Distinguished Teacher Award in 1995, the divisional Teacher Award in the Natural Sciences in 1997, and the 2004 UNC Asheville Board of Governors Award for Excellence in Teaching, becoming the first faculty member at UNC Asheville to receive the three major university teaching awards. He is also a Co-Founder (1987) of the National Conferences on Undergraduate Research. He received a Feldman Award for scholarship and service in 2009.

Go to Ruiz's Homepage


  • Ph.D. in Theoretical Physics, University of Maryland, 1978

Research Interests

Michael's current interests are focused on innovative approaches to teaching interdisciplinary topics and the development of online e-texts. He was featured as a top story on CNN in 2002 for his innovative delivery of course content over the web. His most recent project is the development of online labs in light and sound. These take advantage of the computer's power to produce real-time sound and color mixing that provide the basis for laboratory work. See above project link for invitation to join in this research.

Michael's original field of specialization is theoretical elementary particle physics. He has worked with a quark model where the principles of relativity and quantum mechanics are unified, i.e., a relativistic quark model. He used a relativistic perturbation model to derive a formula that predicts the amount of mass splitting that should occur in the lowest-mass particles (simplest flavor) depending on whether the system is three-quark or quark-antiquark. Then, he calculated the fine structure of quarkonium depending on which of the six quark types are used.

Selected Publications

  1. M. J. Ruiz, "Car Hits Boy on Bicycle," Physics Education 40, 556 (No. 6, November 2005). pdf
  2. M. J. Ruiz, "Prescribing Eyeglasses for Myopia and Hyperopia," The Physics Teacher 43, 88 (February, 2005), featured on the February issue's cover. pdf
  3. M. J. Ruiz, "Kepler's Third Law Without a Calculator," The Physics Teacher 42, 530 (December, 2004). pdf
  4. M. J. Ruiz, "The Human Body's Response to Glucose and Three Physical Models," American Journal of Physics 55, 641 (July, 1987). pdf
  5. M. J. Ruiz and T. L. Robinson (UNC Asheville student), "Illusions With Plane Mirrors," The Physics Teacher 25, 206 (April, 1987), featured on the cover. Paper: pdf
  6. M. J. Ruiz, "Fine Structure of Quarkonium in the Covariant Harmonic-Oscillator Quark Model," Physical Review D 33, 1640 (1986). pdf
  7. M. J. Ruiz, "Nonstrange Hyperfine Splitting in the Relativistic Harmonic-Oscillator Quark Model," Physical Review D 30, 683 (1984). pdf