Joseph Polchinski (Joe) received his BS in Physics from the California Institute of Technology in 1975, and his PhD in Physics from UC Berkeley in 1980. After two-year stints as a research associate at the Stanford Linear Accelerator (SLAC) and at Harvard, he joined the faculty at the University of Texas at Austin in 1984. He moved to UC Santa Barbara in 1992, where he is a Professor of Physics and a Permanent Member of the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics.
Polchinski's contributions to theoretical physics include a modern formulation of renormalization theory and some of the original work on the string landscape. He is best known for his discovery of D-branes, extended structures that appear to be central to the mathematics and physics of string theory. He is also the author of a widely used two-volume text on string theory.
Polchinski held a Hertz Graduate Fellowship from 1975 to 1980, and NSF Postdoctoral Fellowship from 1980 to 1982, and an Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship from 1985 to 1989. He was elected a fellow of the American Physical Society in 1997, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2002, a member of the National Academy of Sciences in 2005, and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2012. He has recently been awarded the 2007 Dannie Heineman Prize in Mathematical Physics of the American Physical Society, the 2008 Dirac Medal of the International Center for Theoretical Physics, Trieste, and the 2013 and 2014 Physics Frontiers Prizes.
Joe's Little Book of String, last update (more on supersymmetric D-branes, superstring dualities) 3/14/12