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.


Prof. Ruiz (AKA Doc), 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. In 2017 he also received a Scholarly and Creative Achievement Award for publishing 17 papers and giving state-wide and national keynote addresses during the five-year period from 2012 to 2017. Doc is also a composer-pianist with three orchestrated piano concertos performed by the Winston-Salem Symphony in the 1990s.

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

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

PHYS 101/121 Light and Visual Phenomena     PHYS 102/122 The Physics of Sound and Music


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

Research Interests

Doc's current interests focus on interdiscipinary publications in physics, music, and computers. He is always looking for students to collaborate with. During his early years using computers in physics education, 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. If you are interested in a research project along these lines see Student Research.

Doc'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.

Publications Since 2013

  1. Michael J. Ruiz, "Video of Scenery During a Total Eclipse: Luminance and Effects of Solar Limb Darkening," Physics Education 54, 035001 (May 2019). Video Abstract
  2. Gerson Morales (UNCA Student at Time of Research), James Perkins, Herb Pomfrey, and Michael J. Ruiz, "Accurate Pinhole Camera Apertures Using Insect Pins," Physics Education 54, 025002 (March 2019). Video Abstract
  3. Rob Berls and Michael J. Ruiz, "Reply to Comment on 'Lenz's Law with Aluminum Foil and a Lengthwise Slit'," Physics Education 54, 016502 (January 2019).
  4. James Perkins and Michael J. Ruiz, "A Reliable Wave Convention for Oppositely Traveling Waves," The Physics Teacher 56, 622 (December 2018).
  5. Michael J. Ruiz and Lowell Hobbs (UNCA Student), "Inharmonic Spectra with a Rock Guitar Effects Pedal," The Physics Teacher 56, 504 (November 2018). Video Abstract
  6. Chloe Hawes (High School Student at NCSSM) and Michael Ruiz, "Swinging Beam of Beads Transforming into a Simple Pendulum of the Same Length," Physics Education 53, 065015 (November 2018). Video Abstract
  7. Michael J. Ruiz, "Lissajous Figures, Musical Intervals, and the Just Diatonic Scale," The Physics Teacher 56, 424 (October 2018). Related Video
  8. Michael J. Ruiz, "Depth of Field and the Vanishing Fence," Physics Education 53, 055015 (September 2018). Video Abstract
  9. Nicholas Konz (UNC Chapel Hill Student) and Michael J. Ruiz, "Amplitude, Frequency, and Timbre with the French Horn," Physics Education 53, 045004 (July 2018). Video Abstract
  10. Rob Berls and Michael J. Ruiz, "Lenz's Law with Aluminum Foil and a Lengthwise Slit," Physics Education 53, 045001 (July 2018). Video Abstract
  11. Christine Boone, Melodie Galloway, and Michael J. Ruiz, "Fun with Singing Wine Glasses" Physics Education 53, 035025 (May 2018). Video and Performance
  12. Michael J. Ruiz and David Wilken, "Tuvan Throat Singing and Harmonics," Physics Education 53, 035011 (May 2018). Video Abstract
  13. Michael J. Ruiz, "Clash of Harmonics in Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring," The Physics Teacher 56, 214 (April 2018). Related Video
  14. Michael J. Ruiz, "Free Sixteen Harmonic Fourier Series Web App with Sound," Physics Education 53, 025008 (March 2018). The App
  15. Dolores Eggers and Michael J. Ruiz, "Investigating the Effect of Multiple Layers of Insulation with a Bubble Wrap Experiment," Physics Education 53, 023001 (March 2018).
  16. Christa R. Michel and Michael J. Ruiz, "The Physics of Singing Vibrato," Physics Education 52, 045010 (July 2017). Video Abstract
  17. Edward Ball, Frances Ruiz, and Michael J. Ruiz, "Free Oscilloscope Web App Using Computer Mic, Built-In Sound Library, or Your Own Files," Physics Education 52, 045006 (July 2017). Video Abstract and The App
  18. Erika Boysen and Michael J. Ruiz, "Flute Physics from a Flutist's Perspective," Physics Education 52, 045004 (July 2017). Video Abstract
  19. Michael J. Ruiz, "Hearing the Transformation of Conical to Closed-Pipe Resonances," Physics Education 52, 033012 (May 2017). Video Abstract and The App
  20. Michael J. Ruiz, "Students Dance Longitudinal Standing Waves," Physics Education 52, 033006 (May 2017). Video Abstract
  21. Bud Holmes and Michael J. Ruiz, "Twenty-Four Tuba Harmonics Using a Single Pipe Length," Physics Education 52, 025005 (March 2017). Video Abstract
  22. Michael J. Ruiz and Erika Boysen, "Flutist Produces Four Resonances with a Single Bottle," Physics Education 52, 025003 (March 2017). Video Abstract
  23. Michael J. Ruiz and James Perkins, "The Monster Sound Pipe," Physics Education 52, 025002 (March 2017). Chosen by the editors as a Highlight of 2017. Video Abstract
  24. Edward Ball and Michael J. Ruiz, "Using a New, Free Spectrograph Program to Critically Investigate Acoustics," Physics Education 51, 065025 (November 2016). Video Abstract and The App
  25. 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
  26. Michael J. Ruiz and James Perkins, "Tungsten Filament Fire," Physics Education 51, 03301 (May 2016). pdf and Video Abstract
  27. Michael J. Ruiz, "Astronomy and the Weak Interaction," in AstroNotes, Column Editor Joe Heafner, The Physics Teacher 54, 122 (February 2016). pdf
  28. Frances Ruiz (daughter) and Michael J. Ruiz (father), "Color Addition and Subtraction Apps," The Physics Teacher 53, 423 (October 2015). pdf and the apps
  29. 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
  30. 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
  31. Michael J. Ruiz, "Boomwhackers and End-Pipe Corrections," The Physics Teacher 52, 73 (February 2014). pdf
  32. 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