Astronomer Enrico Ramirez-Ruiz to give NSF Distinguished Lecture Oct. 6

Enrico Ramirez-Ruiz
Enrico Ramirez-Ruiz

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has invited Enrico Ramirez-Ruiz, professor of astronomy and astrophysics at UC Santa Cruz, to give a Distinguished Lecture sponsored by the NSF Directorates for Mathematical and Physical Sciences and Education and Human Resources.

Ramirez-Ruiz, who holds the Vera Rubin Presidential Chair for Diversity in Astronomy at UC Santa Cruz, will speak on “The Lamat Institute: Re-Imagining Leadership and Mentorship in Astronomy.” This online event in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month will take place on Thursday, October 6, at 11 a.m. Pacific Time. There will also be an informal open meeting with Ramirez-Ruiz from 12:45 to 1:30 p.m.

To watch the lecture, please register in advance at

According to Ramirez-Ruiz, one of the greatest challenges to the astronomical community has been building environments where people with historically marginalized identities (Black, Indigenous and Latinx) can thrive. This critically limits the pool of innovative minds who may gain exclusive access to cutting-edge research and thus, who can shape the future of the field through transformative science, mentoring, and professional leadership.

The overarching goal of the Lamat Institute, which Ramirez-Ruiz established at UCSC in 2010, has been to invigorate the field through training and workplaces that reflect equity-advancing values and allow the full human diversity of our nation to contribute meaningfully to the field. Cultivating equitable access has allowed the program to dramatically increase equitable participation. Earlier this year, Ramirez-Ruiz was honored by the White House with a Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring.

In his talk, he will discuss Lamat's mentoring philosophy and design principles, give a broad overview of the program activities, and talk about how the program continuously works to modernize its core structures.

Since joining the UCSC faculty in 2007, Ramirez-Ruiz has won multiple awards for his research, including a Packard Fellowship, the NSF CAREER Award, the Radcliffe Fellowship at Harvard, the Niels Bohr Professorship from the Danish National Research Foundation, the HEAD Mid-Career Prize from the American Astronomical Society, 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. As the director of the Lamat Institute, he works vigorously to support the promotion and retention of women and historically marginalized students in STEM.