Astronomer Enrico Ramirez-Ruiz honored as Fellow of the California Academy of Sciences

UCSC alumnus and research associate Scott Shaffer is also among the new academy fellows

Enrico Ramirez-Ruiz
Enrico Ramirez-Ruiz

Enrico Ramirez-Ruiz, professor of astronomy and astrophysics at UC Santa Cruz, has been selected by the California Academy of Sciences to join the ranks of Academy Fellows, a governing group of around 450 distinguished scientists and other leaders who have made notable contributions to science or science education and communication.

Ramirez-Ruiz, who holds the Vera Rubin Presidential Chair for Diversity in Astronomy at UCSC, is among 11 new fellows to be recognized during the academy’s annual Fellows Gathering on October 11, 2022.

The new fellows also include alumnus Scott Shaffer, who earned his Ph.D. in biology at UCSC in 2000. Now a professor of biological sciences at San Jose State University, Shaffer remains affiliated with UCSC’s Institute of Marine Sciences and Department of Ocean Sciences as a research associate and lecturer. He studies the physiological ecology of vertebrate animals, especially birds and mammals.

Ramirez-Ruiz is a theoretical astrophysicist who tests out his theories with complex computer simulations that defy the boundaries of human experience and the assumptions we make about the universe. He is a leading authority on some of the most dramatic events in the universe, such as collisions, mergers, and disruptions of stars—especially those involving compact objects like black holes, neutron stars, and white dwarfs.

Ramirez-Ruiz has mentored over 200 students, postdoctoral fellows, and junior faculty, and he has worked vigorously to support the promotion and retention of women and people from under-represented groups in astronomy and related fields. He established and directs the Lamat program, which has been transformative at increasing the number of women and students from historically marginalized groups who earn doctoral degrees in astrophysics.

Fellows of the California Academy of Sciences are nominated by their colleagues and selected by the Board of Trustees. They help further the reach of the academy’s research and education initiatives through individual and collaborative efforts with academy researchers.