Meet Our Physicists

Enrico Ramirez-Ruiz

University of California Santa Cruz


Ramirez-Ruiz headshot

Enrico Ramirez-Ruiz is a Professor and the Vera Rubin Presidential Chair at the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC). After studying at the University of Cambridge, he was the John Bahcall Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. Since joining the UCSC faculty in 2007, Ramirez-Ruiz has won a number of awards for his research, including a Packard Fellowship, the NSF CAREER Award, the Niels Bohr Professorship from the Danish National Research Foundation, the HEAD Mid-Career Prize from the AAS and the Bouchet Award and the Dwight Nicholson Medal from the American Physical Society. He is a fellow of the American Physical Society and member of the Mexican Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. A theoretical astrophysicist, Professor Ramirez-Ruiz is developing the conceptual framework needed to understand the violent and capricious nature of the Universe. He uses computer simulations to explore transient phenomena such as collisions, mergers, and disruptions of stars – especially those involving compact objects like black holes, neutron stars, and white dwarfs. He has authored or co-authored about two hundred and eighty research papers, two dozen in Science and Nature. He has lectured, broadcast and written widely on science and is a highly decorated teacher and research adviser. For over 14 years, Ramirez-Ruiz has built STEM training research programs. Ramirez-Ruiz’s mentees encompass over 200 students, postdoctoral fellows, and junior faculty. In addition to his record of success as a research adviser, the mentoring program he created, Lamat (“star” in Mayan), has been remarkably successful at increasing the number of historically marginalized students who earn Ph.D.s in astrophysics.

Ramirez-Ruiz headshot

Positions Held

General Member, 2011 – current
Trustee, 2020 – current