Hirata timeline

In timelines, Hirata timeline refers to timeline of relevant events germane to writing of American child prodigy turned astrophysicist Christopher Hirata's the circa 2000 article "The Physics of Relationships", wherein he introduces concepts such as dihumanide molecules, trihuminde molecules, tetrahumanide molecule, etc., and in which he applies chemical thermodynamics to equilibrium reactions of dating interactions at a given college setting, among other interesting applications.

The following is a work-in-progress timeline of relevant events germane to the writing of Christopher Hirata's the circa 2000 article "The Physics of Relationships":

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(Nov 30 05:46 GMT)
(RE | age 0)
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(age 3)
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(age 5-6)
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(age 10-ish)
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(age 12)
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(age 12/13)
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(age 13)
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Feb 23
(age 14)
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(age 14)
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(age 16)
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Dec 4
(age 17)
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(age 18)
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Aug 28
(age 18.7)
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Sep 21
(age 18.8)
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Mar 15
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Jul 28
(age 22)
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Aug 20
(age 22)
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(age 23)
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Mar 26
(age 27)
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(age 29)
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Jul 30
(age 29)
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(age 30)
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(age 32)
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Richard Hirata (c.1952-)
+ ________________ ___ Christopher Michael Hirata (1982-)
Terese Hirata (c.1957-)

Richard Hirata (labeled)Terese Hirata (labeled)

Left: Richard Hirata, and his friend Chris, many years ago, in or about Oklahoma (Ѻ); in 1995, he was doing statistical modeling for Nielsen North America in Deerfield, IL. Right: Terese Hirata during spring 2006 trip to San Gabriel Mountains, California. (Ѻ) Both graduated from the University of Michigan.
Reaction start:

Came into existence, as an only child, on the substrate of Ypsilanti, Mi:


Note: at this time, Libb Thims was a pre-teen “obscure lump of molecules”, as Barry Barnes (1998) described himself, “wandering around a remote corner” of Ann Arbor, Mi, some 7-miles away from Hirata, probably building some type of tree house or bunk bed made of trees.

kid doing math (labeled)Mental calculator:

Was estimating the cost of the grocery bill, at the supermarket, as his mother, Terese, would, e.g., “toss into the shopping cart 3 pounds of apples at 69 cents a pound, a three-quarter-pound wedge of cheese at $2.39 a pound, two loaves of bread, a box of cereal” and so on:
to pricing each item by “weight, quantity, and any discount that might be given, and sales tax” to “an amazingly accurate total.”

Was reading the Dr. Seuss series to himself. Able to recite the alphabet backward, he'd also play code games with the alphabet, knowing instantly that the letter "O" was 15th in the sequence.

First grade:

Was doing algebraic equations:

algebra (image)

IQ score:

He scored "off the school's scale" when he took an IQ test; the value of which his parent's knew, but did not wish to reveal.
IQ (off the scale)

High school:

Deerfield High SchoolWas simultaneously enrolled in junior high and Deerfield High School, IL, where he was completing college-level courses in physics and multivariable calculus (see: prodigies and calculus), where he was tutored by the high school's top student:

In his spare time reading novels, such as Fyodor Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment (1866), and read to go high school full time:

“I'm bored at the junior high school. The pace is too slow. It's a more stimulating environment at the high school.”
— Christopher Hirata (1995), Chicago Tribune Interview

“I had some good teachers, but it was mostly a waste.”
— Christopher Hirata (2001), The Daily Princetonian Interview

He stated (1995) that, although semi-content, he did secretly wish he had more kids of his age and intellectual ability to talk to.

UIC logoUIC graduate school colloquium:

Was leading a graduate students physics colloquium at the University of Illinois at Chicago, per invite of professor Juan Campuzano:

“It’s a very unusual situation. He’s among the brightest students I’ve ever met.”

Note: American electrochemical engineer Libb Thims would also lecture at UIC three times (2010-2012), to bioengineering thermodynamics students (see: lectures), on the same subject, namely human chemical thermodynamics, that Hirata (c.2000) would later do as but "fun".

5th in the world in physics:

Scored 5th in the world (and 1st among Americans) in the International Physics Olympiad in Oslo, Sweden, after 10-hours of completion, against 259 of the brightest (age 19 or less) minds in the world, from a total of 56-countries:
IPhO (labeled)

Hirata’s showing at the IPhO was considered so record-breaking that IPhO organizers announced a special award for “Youngest Medalist”, awarded that year to Hirata, an award that has since become one of the most-coveted awards.

His room, at home, is strewn with string holding film canisters filled with marbles, put up two years ago to help him visualize the answer to a mechanics problem he was trying to solve; the poster above his bed is a period table; their living room is covered with molecular models made of brightly colored plastic pieces.

Nobel Prize prediction:

Hirata, according to Deerfield High School science department chairman Vincent Malek, is heads above college professors in mathematics and physics and predicts a Nobel Prize for the wunderkind; gives the following view on Hirata, during his last semester of high school, prior to going to Caltech:

“If I were to say that Chris Hirata is one in a million, that would understate his intellectual ability.”

College start:

Entered Caltech as a freshman, registering one of the highest scores in history on the Institute's mathematics diagnostic tests:

Caltech logo
thereby foregoing freshman calculus and sophomore differential equations for a more difficult upper-division class.


Was working with NASA on a project exploring the possibility of colonizing Mars:

Mars colony

Note: by 2001, he was the team leader on NASA's own human Mars exploration project, whose plans he had redesigned three times.

Compare IQ 210 cited Kim-Ung-Yong (1963-) was working with NASA from age 8 to 18. (Ѻ)

Putnam competition:

Takes 4th place at the Putnam Mathematics Competition, together with together with Caltech teammates Kevin Costello and Michael Shulman:
Putnam competition
Mathematics professor Markus Keel tells of an anecdote about Hirata, in his differential geometry class of 22 physics and mathematics students, including a couple of graduate students, and difficult final exam problem on the final exam, which he had consulted two colleagues in the department on prior to the test: one colleague said he didn't see right away how to solve the exercise, while the other said—at terrific volume—that he didn't even believe the conclusion of the problem.

On the final itself, Hirata not only solved the problem as Keel had framed it, but left a note saying that he knew of an easier way to solve it, and wrote the easier solution on the back of the page.

Hirata reactionRelationship physics:

Penned his "The Physics of Relationships" article:

1. Thermochemical Approach to RelationshipsExternal link icon (c)
2. Complex Equilibria of Men and WomenExternal link icon (c)
3. Reaction KineticsExternal link icon (c)
4. Neutron Scattering: A Cautionary TaleExternal link icon (c)
5. The Shell ModelExternal link icon (c)

Hirata (Fun) 2010 WayBack (s)Which in 2006 to 2010 was listed on his Caltech faculty page under the category of "personal fun" which he described as an "old favorite from my bachelor days." (Ѻ)

In which he does work, for fun as he calls it, on the famous "elective affinities problem" that Goethe (1809), the first person ever cited with an IQ of 225 did two centuries ago, as did Mirza Beg (1987) and Libb Thims (1995), independently, did more recently, on the famously difficult subject of human chemical thermodynamics, where in humans are "explicitly" defined as molecules (see: human molecular theory), human interactions and relationships as chemical reactions (see: HCR theory), all governed by the chemical thermodynamics.

Date: as to when written, Hirata states that this paper is from his Caltech days (1997-2001) and that it was written before he met his wife Annika Peter (1982-) (Ѻ), whose family he had been visiting since at least 2003.

College graduation:

Completed his BS in physics with a 4.2 GPA, was being heralded as a “mathematics prodigy”, and about to enter Princeton’s graduate physics program, with a perfect GRE score 990 in physics.

Graduate school start:

Hirata enters Princeton as a physics graduate student:
Princeton logo
Shown below, Hirata (Ѻ) gets his orange Princeton pants from Loretta Hidalgo:

Hirata gets orange Princeton pants (2001)

IQ 225 (estimate symbol)

Was being estimated with an IQ of 225; example quote:

“With an I.Q. estimated to be around 225, Hirata has been sought after by many elite institutions in his life.

This year Princeton beat out schools like Harvard and Stanford for the right to claim him among its ranks—and all it took was a full scholarship and stipend.”
— Vanessa Woods (2001), “Balancing Life as a Teenager and Graduate Student”, The Daily Princetonian


Spring break:

Hirata during spring break with friends (Ѻ): Derek Shannon (Mars colonization project cohort), Mike Massey, Nathan Brown (Mars colonization project cohort), and Melissa Todd.

Hirata (group photo)

PhD defense:

Defends his PhD with a dissertation on “Weak Gravitational Lensing Theory and Data Analysis.”
PhD icon
Soon thereafter, he begins to be ranked into the youngest PhDs of all time listings, alongside the likes of Norbert Wiener (PhD in math at 18) and Wolfgang Pauli (PhD in theoretical physics at 21) who at 18 had already published papers on relativity.


Marries astrophysicist Annika Peter (1982-) (Ѻ):

Chris Hirata and Annika (2007)


Postdoc at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton New Jersey:

Institute for Advanced Study

Assistant professor:

Becomes assistant professor of physics and astrophysics at Caltech, wherein he lists the following "basic date" about himself:

Basic Data

Time of birth.................. 1982 Nov 30 05:46 GMT
Place of birth................. Ypsilanti, Michigan, United States of America
Location of birth.............. Earth 42deg 15min N 83deg 38min W
Height......................... 5 ft 8 in (173 cm)
Weight......................... zero (see note 1)
Rest mass...................... 136 lbm (62 kg)
Rest mass energy equivalent.... 1300 megatons TNT
Gravitational monopole moment.. 2.5E-04 in³/s² (4.1E-09 m³/s²)
Integer part of age in years... 23 (see note 2)
Ethnicity...................... non-ethnic
Occupation..................... postdoc
Employer....................... Institute for Advanced Study
Thermal neutron cross section.. 1.3E+27 barns (total, spin-averaged)
Moment of inertia.............. 17 to 120 lbm ft² (0.7 to 5 kg m²) (see note 3)
Thermal power output........... 0.1 Btu/sec (100 W)
Radioisotopic power output..... 1.6E-12 Btu/sec (1.7 nW)

  1. My metaphysical interpretation of the equivalence principle is that gravity is a fictitious force.
  2. Used to be 21 at parties. Still wish I were.
  3. Moment of inertia is given about center of mass, but varies depending on direction of axis and time of measurement.


Is known at Caltech and among college entrance discussion forums as a “legend”:

“Med school typically add 0.7 onto a Caltech GPA (at least they do in Harvard Grad Schools) to normalize it in comparison to other schools. Chris Hirata—a physics genius legend who entered Caltech at 14, the went to Princeton for his PhD, and is now back at Tech as a professor—would have had an adjusted 4.9 GPA.”

Full professor:

Becomes full professor at Caltech.


Wins the Simons Investigators Award of $1.3 million over the next ten years to fund innovative research:

Simons Foundation

PECASE award:

Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE award), the highest award given by the US government to science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers, for:

“Innovative work reducing astrophysical uncertainties that limit the extraction of fundamental physics parameters from cosmological observations, for studies of the sensitivity of structure formation to the relative velocity between dark matter and baryons in the early universe, and for service on NASA/DOE Joint Dark Energy Mission working groups.”

Hirata (PECASE award)

Ohio State University logoTransfers:

Transfers to the Ohio State University Center for Cosmology and Astro Particle Physics to work as a team with his wife Annika Peter (Ѻ) on dark matter and dark energy; Hirata focused on focusing on the microwave background of the universe, and large-scale sky surveys to help untangle this phenomenon that he says “is so bizarre it contradicts all intuition and doesn’t fit into any mathematical framework that describes the universe.”

Chris Hirata and Annika Peter (2013)


Hirata lists the following as his areas of expertise on his new faculty page:

Hirata (areas of expertise) (2014)



(Ѻ)(Ѻ) [3]











See also
William Sidis | The Animate and the Inanimate

1. Woods, Vanessa. (2001). “Balancing Life as a Teenager and a Graduate Student” (WB), The Daily Princetonian, Sep 21.
2. Duch, Margaret van. (1995). “The Head of the Class: Having a Super-bright Kid Brings its Own Challenges to Parent”, Chicago Tribune, Apr. 02.
3. Tindol, Robert. (2001). “Caltech senior heads for graduation with 4.2 GPA, record of leadership and is only 18” (Ѻ), Caltech News, Jun 13.
4. Gruzen, Tara. (1996). “Gold-Standard Genius at Physics Olympiad: Deerfield Teen Compiles Best Score” (Ѻ), Chicago Tribune, Aug 11.
5. (a) Hirata, Christopher M. (c.2000). “The Physics of Relationships” (section: Fun), Tapir.Caltech.edu; (WayBack Machine).
(b) Hirata, Christopher M. (2010). "The Physics of Relationships", Journal of Human Thermodynamics, 6(5): 62-76.
6. Hirata, Christopher M. (2005). “Weak Gravitational Lensing Theory and Data Analysis”, thesis/dissertation. Princeton University, Department of Physics.
7. Hirata travel schedule – Caltech.com.
8. Staff. (2013). “[Research] Stars Align” (Ѻ), Ascent, Ohio State University, Fall.
9. Van Duch, Margaret. (1997). “Move Over, Einstein: ‘If I were to say Chris Hirata is one …’” (Ѻ), Chicago Tribune, Feb 23.
10. Schwab, Tracy. (1996). “Pen”, Physics Education News, American Institute of Physics.
11. Christopher Hirata (fact sheet) – CalTech.edu.
12. Anon. (2012). “ The 10 Youngest PhDs of All Time” (Ѻ), Online Colleges, Apr 2.
13. Hirata, Christopher, Brown, Nathan, and Shannon, Derek. (1999). “The Mars Society of Caltech Human Exploration of Mars Endeavor” (Ѻ), USRA.edu, Dec 22.
14. Christopher Hirata (homepage) (WB) – CalTech.edu.

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