Joaquin Ruiz Named Outstanding Researcher by Mexican Government
Mexico's president, Felipe Calderon, will honor Ruiz and other nominees during a ceremony in 2010.

By Rebecca Ruiz-McGill, University Communications
Dec. 21, 2009

Joaquin Ruiz, executive dean of the University of Arizona's College of Letters, Arts and Science and professor of geosciences, has joined the list of outstanding researchers admitted into Mexico's National System of Researchers, known as SNI.

The National System of Researchers is a program created in 1984 by the Mexican Science and Technology Council, known as CONACYT.

Over the years, membership in the SNI has become an important distinction for researchers, since this selective recognition is given based on an independent peer evaluation, and symbolizes the quality and prestige of the scientific contributions of the researcher. However, this distinction had only been awarded only to researchers residing in Mexico.

This year, for the first time in SNI history, the organization has opened its membership to outstanding Mexican scholars living abroad.

Ruiz was accepted as a "National Researcher" under the organization's highest-ranking category for contributing researchers. He was recognized for his outstanding scientific contributions and efforts to enhance Mexico's scientific and technological capacity through collaborations with the UA and research institutions in Mexico. 

"There are many important scientific questions that can be addressed in Mexico and that are pertinent to my field of study. These questions include environmental problems and fundamental issues about the tectonic evolution of Mexico," Ruiz said.

Ruiz is well known for his research involving the formation of metallic ore deposits. In particular, he studies the factors responsible for the origin of ore-forming elements in copper and gold ore deposits at or near the earth's surface.

His work has revealed that gold deposits also offer a method for studying the evolution of the atmosphere, specifically how the oxygen concentration has changed through time. He also is an expert in the tectonic evolution of southern Mexico. His research team addresses problems ranging from the origin of life to present-day climate change.

The recognition from SNI at the highest ranking level reflects the quality and prestige of the scientific contributions of the researcher to increase the culture, productivity, competitiveness and social well-being of the nation.

"Dean Ruiz is an outstanding researcher and an academic leader highly committed to better outreach for the University of Arizona internationally," said Francisco Marmolejo, assistant vice president for Western Hemispheric Programs at the UA.

He added that "Joaquin's leadership is widely recognized in Mexico and our University benefits from such a prominent role for Dean Ruiz."

A ceremony will be held in early spring in which Mexico President Felipe Calderon will officially recognize the contributions of the council's newest members.

"It is an honor to be named to the top ranks of the Mexican scientific establishment and to be in the company of this prestigious scientific community," Ruiz added.