Michael Ruiz, Ph.D.

Professor of Physics
124D Rhoades/Robinson Hall

Office Hours

  • Tue: 

    • 11:15 - 11:45 a.m.
  • Wed: 

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

    • 11:15 - 11:45 a.m.
Office hours held in RRO 124D or RRO 114. Please check both places.


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. Michael is also a composer-pianist with three orchestrated piano concertos performed by the Winston-Salem Symphony in the 1990s.

Go to Ruiz's Homepage     His doctorphys YouTube Channel     www.doctorphys.com

See his exciting aerial video of UNC Ashevlle (August 2016)


  • 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-books that include video and interactive apps. He was featured as a top story on CNN in 2002 for his innovative delivery of course content over the Internet. His most recent projects involve developing physics apps with html5 programming using the canvas and audio API (Application Program Interface) along with css and Javascript.

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. Edward Ball and Michael J. Ruiz, "Using a New, Free Spectrograph Program to Critically Investigate Acoustics," accepted for publication in Physics Education. Video Abstract
  2. Michael J. Ruiz, "The '2001' Theme on the Whistling Tube," in Little Gems, Column Editor Christopher Chiaverina, The Physics Teacher 54, 310 (May 2016). pdf and Video
  3. Michael J. Ruiz and James Perkins, "Tungsten Filament Fire," Physics Education 51, 03301 (May 2016). pdf and Video Abstract
  4. Michael J. Ruiz, "Astronomy and the Weak Interaction," in AstroNotes, Column Editor Joe Heafner, The Physics Teacher 54, 122 (February 2016). pdf
  5. Frances Ruiz (daughter) and Michael J. Ruiz (father), "Color Addition and Subtraction Apps," The Physics Teacher 53, 423 (October 2015). pdf and the apps
  6. Halima Flynt (UNCA Student) and Michael J. Ruiz, "Making a Room-Sized Camera Obscura," Physics Education 50, 19 (January 2015). Chosen by the editors as a Highlight of 2015. pdf and Video Abstract
  7. William Michel (Graduate Student, Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University) and Michael J. Ruiz, "The Fourth Harmonic and Sibelius," Physics Education 49, 149 (March 2014). pdf and Video Abstract
  8. Michael J. Ruiz, "Boomwhackers and End-Pipe Corrections," The Physics Teacher 52, 73 (February 2014). pdf
  9. Lydia Zimmer Johnson (UNCA Student) and Michael J. Ruiz, "A Revelation in Colour and Sound," Physics Education 48, 10 (January 2013). Chosen by the editors as a Highlight of 2013. pdf

Go to All Publications