Joaquin Ruiz

Vice President of Global Environmental Futures

Headshot of Joaquin Ruiz
  • WONDER HOUSE @ SXSW 2020 Talk:

    Biosphere 2: Where are You Now?
    Sunday, March 15, 1:00p.m.

JOAQUIN'S TALK: Biosphere 2, Where Are You Now?
Arizona, 1987: scientists built a research facility to mimic and research our planet’s living systems and, with a few scientists living and working inside, be self-sufficient. But the experiment was short-lived: the dome lost oxygen and the crew couldn’t grow enough food. Arizona, 2020: this incredible facility hosts some of the world’s largest earth sciences experiments, helping us understand the survival of our oceans and much more. What’s the moral of the story?


Dr. Joaquin Ruiz has been servant science and leadership advocate and has helped make Biosphere 2 into the vibrant living laboratory it is today. He has served a 20-year tenure as the Dean of the University of Arizona College of Science, a 10-year parallel post as Exec Dean of the Colleges of Letters, Arts & Science, and concurrent positions as VP for Innovation and Director of Biosphere 2. Now, as VP of  Global and Environmental Futures, Dr. Ruiz focuses his considerable experience and influence in addressing the significant environmental issues facing our nation and the world.

A scientist with equal abilities in chemistry and in geology, Ruiz addresses many 1st-order problems in the Earth Sciences, and his research team addresses problems ranging from the origins of life to present-day climate change. Dr. Ruiz served as President of the Geological Society of America (2010-2011). He is also a Fellow of the Society of Economic Geologists, and a member of the American Geophysical Union, the American Chemical Society, the Geochemical Society, and the National Research Council of the National Academies of Science.

All Dr. Ruiz’s projects are interdisciplinary and involve collaborations with researchers and students from many parts of the world. Ruiz is a member of both the Jewish and Hispanic communities. He is a member of the Mexican Academy of Sciences and was named a National Researcher by the Mexican government in 2010, when he was recognized for his outstanding scientific contributions and efforts to enhance Mexico's scientific and technological capacity through collaborations with the University of Arizona and research institutions in Mexico. In 2018, the Mexican Secretary of State named Dr. Ruiz one of forty distinguished Mexican citizens living abroad who have brought bring distinction to the country. 

Joaquin Ruiz received his BS in Geology and Chemistry from the University of Miami, 1977, his MS (1980) and PhD (1983) in Geology from the University of Michigan. He was Asst Professor at the University of Miami in 1982-1983. In 1983, he joined the UAZ Geosciences Dept as Asst Professor, then Assoc Professor, 1989, and Professor in 1993. He was head of Geosciences from 1995-2000, Dean of the College of Science since 2000, Exec Dean of the Colleges of Letters, Arts & Science, 2009-18, and VP for Innovation since 2013. He is also the Thomas R. Brown Chair and Director of Biosphere 2.

He served as Secretary of the Volcanology Section of the American Geophysical Union, Councilor of the Geological Society of America, and an NSF Panel Member for the Instrumentation & Facilities and the Centers for Excellence in Science & Technology Programs. He was Associate Editor of the American Journal of ScienceGeologyRevista, and Geofísica International of the Institute of Geology, UNAM.

Read more about Dr. Ruiz's search for global environmental partnerships.