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)


  • 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.

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. D. Gallimore (UNCA Student), S. N. Majumdar, J. Perkins, E. Ruiz, M. J. Ruiz, and R. K. P. Zia, "An Asymmetric Cluster-Enhanced Exclusion Process," submitted to Europhysics Letters.
  2. Michael J. Ruiz and Lowell Hobbs (UNCA Student), "Inharmonic Spectra with a Rock Guitar Effects Pedal," to appear in The Physics Teacher.
  3. James Perkins and Michael J. Ruiz, "A Reliable Wave Convention for Oppositely Traveling Waves" to appear in The Physics Teacher.
  4. Michael J. Ruiz, "Lissajous Figures, Musical Intervals, and the Just Diatonic Scale," to appear in The Physics Teacher.
  5. Nicholas Konz (UNC Chapel Hill Student) and Michael J. Ruiz, "Amplitude, Frequency, and Timbre with the French Horn," Physics Education 53, 045004 (July 2018).
  6. Rob Berls and Michael J. Ruiz, "Lenz's Law with Aluminum Foil and a Lengthwise Slit," Physics Education 53, 045001 (July 2018).
  7. Christine Boone, Melodie Galloway, and Michael J. Ruiz, "Fun with Singing Wine Glasses" Physics Education 53, 035025 (May 2018).
  8. Michael J. Ruiz and David Wilken, "Tuvan Throat Singing and Harmonics," Physics Education 53, 035011 (May 2018).
  9. Michael J. Ruiz, "Clash of Harmonics in Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring," The Physics Teacher 56, 214 (April 2018).
  10. Michael J. Ruiz, "Free Sixteen Harmonic Fourier Series Web App with Sound," Physics Education 53, 025008 (March 2018).
  11. 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).
  12. Christa R. Michel and Michael J. Ruiz, "The Physics of Singing Vibrato," Physics Education 52, 045010 (July 2017). Video Abstract
  13. 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
  14. Erika Boysen and Michael J. Ruiz, "Flute Physics from a Flutist's Perspective," Physics Education 52, 045004 (July 2017). Video Abstract
  15. Michael J. Ruiz, "Hearing the Transformation of Conical to Closed-Pipe Resonances," Physics Education 52, 033012 (May 2017). Video Abstract and The App
  16. Michael J. Ruiz, "Students Dance Longitudinal Standing Waves," Physics Education 52, 033006 (May 2017). Video Abstract
  17. Bud Holmes and Michael J. Ruiz, "Twenty-Four Tuba Harmonics Using a Single Pipe Length," Physics Education 52, 025005 (March 2017). Video Abstract
  18. Michael J. Ruiz and Erika Boysen, "Flutist Produces Four Resonances with a Single Bottle," Physics Education 52, 025003 (March 2017). Video Abstract
  19. 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
  20. 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
  21. 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
  22. Michael J. Ruiz and James Perkins, "Tungsten Filament Fire," Physics Education 51, 03301 (May 2016). pdf and Video Abstract
  23. Michael J. Ruiz, "Astronomy and the Weak Interaction," in AstroNotes, Column Editor Joe Heafner, The Physics Teacher 54, 122 (February 2016). pdf
  24. Frances Ruiz (daughter) and Michael J. Ruiz (father), "Color Addition and Subtraction Apps," The Physics Teacher 53, 423 (October 2015). pdf and the apps
  25. 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
  26. 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
  27. Michael J. Ruiz, "Boomwhackers and End-Pipe Corrections," The Physics Teacher 52, 73 (February 2014). pdf
  28. 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