Michael Ruiz, Ph.D.

Professor of Physics

Contact Information

  • ruiz@unca.edu
  • 828-232-2281
  • 124D Rhoades/Robinson Hall


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.


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

Research Interests

Doc's current interests focus on interdisciplinary 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.


See all publications here.