Meet Our Physicists

Hirosi Ooguri


Chair of the Board

Finishing his graduate studies in two years, Ooguri became a tenured faculty member at the University of Tokyo in 1986. He was a member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton in 1988-89 and was appointed an Assistant Professor at the University of Chicago before receiving his Ph.D. in 1989. After four years as an Associate Professor at Kyoto University, he returned to the United States in 1994 as a Full Professor of Physics at the University of California, Berkeley.

In 2000, Ooguri moved to Caltech, where he is the inaugural holder of the Fred Kavli Chair. From 2010 to 2015, Ooguri served as Caltech’s Deputy Chair of the Division of Physics, Mathematics, and Astronomy (equivalent of Vice Dean of Physical Sciences). He led the establishment of the Walter Burke Institute for Theoretical Physics in 2014 and has been its Founding Director since then.

Ooguri also helped establish the Kavli Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe at the University of Tokyo in 2007 and became one of its Founding Principal Investigators. He served as the Director of the Kavli Institute from 2018 to 2023. In 2024, he was named a University Professor of the University of Tokyo.

Ooguri was a General Member of the Aspen Center for Physics for twenty years until 2023, when he was elected an Honorary Trustee for Life. He has served as the Scientific Secretary, a Trustee, and the President of the Center. Since 2021, he has been the Chair of the Board of Trustees.

Ooguri has received the Medal of Honor with Purple Ribbon from the Emperor of Japan, the Eisenbud Prize for Mathematics and Physics from the American Mathematical Society, the Simons Investigator Award from the Simons Foundation, the Guggenheim Fellowship, the Hamburg Prize and the Humboldt Research Award in Germany, the Benjamin Lee Distinguished Professorship in Korea, and the Nishina Memorial Prize and the Chunichi Cultural Award in Japan. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the American Mathematical Society.

Ooguri’s popular science books have sold over 300,000 copies in Japan, and one of them won the Kodansha Prize for Science Books. He also supervised a science movie, which was selected for the Best Educational Production Award from the International Planetarium Society and has been translated into six languages.

Positions Held

General Member, 2003 – 2023
Trustee, 2011 – 2016
Asst Scientific Secretary, 2010 – 2011
Scientific Secretary, 2011 – 2012
President, 2016 – 2019
Chair of the Board, 2021 – current
Honorary Trustee, 2023 – current