Ronald Garcia Ruiz is an MIT assistant professor of physics and Laboratory for Nuclear Science researcher.

Ronald Garcia Ruiz named a Popular Science “Brilliant 10”

Assistant professor of physics honored for work on the development of laser spectroscopy techniques to investigate the properties of subatomic particles.

Popular Science magazine has named Ronald Fernando Garcia Ruiz, assistant professor with MIT’s Department of Physics and a researcher in the Laboratory for Nuclear Science, as one of its Brilliant 10 for 2023.

Garcia Ruiz is featured in the Dec. 5 issue.

The Garcia Ruiz Lab (the Laboratory for Exotic Molecules and Atoms) focuses its research on the development of laser spectroscopy techniques to investigate the properties of subatomic particles using atoms and molecules made up of short-lived radioactive nuclei. Garcia Ruiz’s experimental work provides unique information about the fundamental forces of nature, the properties of nuclear matter at the limits of existence, and the search for new physics beyond the Standard Model of particle physics.

Garcia Ruiz obtained his bachelor’s degree in physics at Universidad Nacional de Colombia, a master’s degree in physics at Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, and his PhD degree at KU Leuven in Belgium. Garcia Ruiz was based at CERN during most of his PhD, working on laser spectroscopy techniques for the study of short-lived atomic nuclei. After his PhD, he became a research associate at The University of Manchester. In 2018, he was awarded a CERN Research Fellowship to lead the local team of the Collinear Resonance Ionization Spectroscopy experiment. At CERN, he has led several experimental programs motivated by modern developments in nuclear science. 

Garcia Ruiz joined the MIT faculty in 2020. Over the last few years, his team and collaborators developed the Resonance Ionization Spectroscopy Experiment (RISE) at the new U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Facility for Rare Isotope Beams. This unique facility worldwide will facilitate the study of rare atoms and molecules containing nuclei with extreme proton-to-neutron ratios, enabling new opportunities in the study of nuclear matter and searches for new physics.

Garcia Ruiz and his collaborators have pioneered the study of radioactive molecules for the investigation of nuclear and particle physics phenomena. In particular, radioactive molecules with octupole-deformed nuclei are predicted to offer unprecedented sensitivity to study the violation of the fundamental symmetries that are suggested to play a critical role in the origin and evolution of our visible universe.

Among his previous honors and awards, Garcia Ruiz received a Sloan Research Fellowship 2023, the Stuart Jay Freedman Award in Experimental Nuclear Physics from the American Physical Society in 2022, the IUPAP Young Scientist Prize in Nuclear Physics 2022, the National Academic Award in Science, Alejandro Angel Escobar Prize, Colombia in 2021, and the DOE Early Career Award 2020.

The 10 awardees, chosen from hundreds of nominations, are reviewed by peers in the field. Popular Science’s annual Brilliant 10 list was first published in 2002. Eight other MIT researchers have received this distinction since the list’s inception.