Juan Maldacena was born in Argentina. After finishing his undergraduate education there he went to Princeton for his PhD and stayed in the USA since then. He is presently a Professor at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton. He has made path-breaking and seminal contributions to string theory and quantum gravity. He has introduced the gauge gravity duality which relates gravity and string theory on some space to more conventional quantum theories on the boundary of that space. This duality has been one of the most influential ideas in string theory since its discovery in 1997.
Maldacena has won numerous prizes including the ICTP Dirac Medal, the American Physical Society Dannie Heineman prize, and the Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics. He is a member of The World Academy of Science and the US National Academy of Science.