Dr. Ogi Jonathan Ogas (born ca. 1971 in Annapolis, Maryland[1]) is a cognitive neuroscientist and game show contestant.

Life and works

Ogas was one of the first Homeland Security Fellows of the United States, involved in an educational program designed to prepare technologists for work in America's anti-terrorism effort. The Department of Homeland Security funded his doctoral program at Boston University in Cognitive & Neural Systems.[1][2]

Ogas won $500,000 on an episode of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? that aired on November 8, 2006 by using his cognitive science research to guide his game strategy.[1]

Ogi's Run to the Million

$100 (1 of 15) - Not Timed
Due to the geographical areas they represented, the opposing sides of the U.S. Civil War were known by what names?
• A: The Hills and the Valleys • B: The Cities and the Farms
• C: The North and the South • D: The Kool and the Gang
$200 (2 of 15) - Not Timed
What type of farm animal has a smallish "potbellied" breed that are often raised as household pets?
• A: Chicken • B: Pig
• C: Mule • D: Sheep
$300 (3 of 15) - Not Timed
In the titles of two nursery rhymes, what adjective describe both Mother Hubbard and King Cole?
• A: Rich • B: Friendly
• C: Old • D: Funny
$500 (4 of 15) - Not Timed
In the event of a tornado, what part of the house is usually said to be the safest?
• A: Kitchen • B: Attic
• C: Master bedroom • D: Basement
$1,000 (5 of 15) - Not Timed
As suggested by the food company he launched, chef Hector Boiardi specialized in what cuisine?
• A: Italian • B: French
• C: Middle Eastern • D: Mexican
$2,000 (6 of 15) - Not Timed
Which of these recent U.S. presidents was serving as the vice president when elected?
• A: Jimmy Carter • B: Ronald Reagan
• C: George H.W. Bush • D: Bill Clinton
$4,000 (7 of 15) - Not Timed
A signer of the Declaration of Independence, Reverend John Witherspoon is a direct ancestor of an Oscar-winner for what 2005 film?
• A: Syriana • B: Capote
• C: Walk the Line • D: Brokeback Mountain
$8,000 (8 of 15) - Not Timed
According to legend, the "honeymoon" is named for a custom in which couples imbibed what honey-based drink for a month after the wedding?
• A: Mead • B: Ale
• C: Brandy • D: Rum
$16,000 (9 of 15) - Not Timed
Cartoons of the prophet Muhammad that incensed Arab communities were first published in 2005 in what country?
• A: Germany • B: Denmark
• C: Italy • D: France
$25,000 (10 of 15) - Not Timed
Ethylene glycol is the sweet-tasting but poisonous active ingredient frequently found in what chemical product?
• A: Rubbing alcohol • B: Lighter fluid
• C: Hairspray • D: Antifreeze
$50,000 (11 of 15) - Not Timed
Which of the following acronyms represents an organization that does not include the word 'Association'?
$100,000 (12 of 15) - Not Timed
In a classic scene from "The Seven Year Itch," Marilyn Monroe's skirt flies up around her as she asks what provocative question?
"'Ask the Audience' and 'Phone a Friend'" lifeline used.
• A: See anything you like? • B: Isn't it delicious?
• C: Wanna join me? • D: Aren't you excited?
Ask the Audience Results: A: 40% • B: 38% • C: 13% • D: 9%
Ogi has no clue, so he asks the audience.

Since there was an almost dead heat between A & B, he decides to call his friend Sai. Ogi asked Sai to look up it on the internet. At the last second, Sai said: "Isn't it delicious?" before being cut off. Ogi wasn't sure if he was asking him to repeat it or if that was his answer, but Ogi went for it anyway. Luckily, whether his friend was asking to repeat it or not, he was correct and moved on to the next question.

$250,000 (13 of 15) - Not Timed
Retail giant Richard Sears began his career in 1886 when he started a company that sold what?
• A: Watches • B: Shoes
• C: Paint • D: Farming tools
Ogi immediately makes A his final answer and wins $250,000… but the klaxon sounds…

Meredith: "Ohhhh NOOOOOOOOO!"

… and he'll return with two of his lifelines.

$500,000 (14 of 15) - Not Timed
Who is the only member of the Beatles to have never performed on a Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon?
"Switch the Question" lifeline used.
• A: Paul McCartney • B: Ringo Starr
• C: George Harrison • D: John Lennon
Ogi did not know the answer, so he decided to switch to a different question. The correct answer was C: George Harrison. His new question was:
$500,000 (14 of 15 - STQ) - Not Timed
In the 1890s, heroin was introduced commercially to the U.S. by Bayer as a remedy for what ailment?
"50:50" lifeline used.
• A: Stiff joints • B: High fever
• C: Stuffy head • D: Persistent cough
Ogi used his 50:50 lifeline, which left him with C: Stuffy head or D: Persistent cough. He did not think that heroin could be used to cure a stuffy head. He was not exactly sure, but he still went for D: Persistent cough and got it right.
$1,000,000 (15 of 15) - Not Timed
Which of these ships was not one of the three taken over by colonists during the Boston Tea Party?
• A: Eleanor • B: Dartmouth
• C: Beaver • D: William

Ogi had a quite strong hunch on his $1,000,000 question, tentatively eliminating three of the choices, but ultimately decided to walk away because of the large amount of money at risk (Ogi would've lost $475,000 of his $500,000 if he was wrong). His hunch for the right answer was correct, prompting him to fall into a memorable and humorous tirade.[3][4] Since playing, he has appeared as the expert twenty-two times on the "Ask the Expert" lifeline on the syndicated show.

Ogas was also a contestant on Grand Slam, which aired in August and September 2007.[5] He stated that after feeling the intense emotional pressure on Millionaire, he developed a new suite of cognitive techniques for Grand Slam, including calming techniques as well as mathematical, verbal, and mnemonic heuristics derived from his brain research.[6] He defeated former Millionaire contestant Nancy Christy in his first-round game, and defeated then all-time game show winnings record holder and Jeopardy! champion Brad Rutter in his second round of play. Ogas then defeated David Legler in the semifinals.

In June 2009, Ogas along with fellow Boston University graduate Sai Gaddam (who was Ogi's Phone a Friend on Millionaire) obtained a six-figure book contract with Stephen Morrow at Dutton for a nonfiction book currently entitled Rule 34.[7] In August 2009, they attempted to conduct a survey of fanfiction readers and writers, but withdrew the survey amidst condemnation of its content and methodology by members of the fan fiction community.[8]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 ""Final Answer" Pays Off Big Time for Former DHS Fellow". Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education. November 15, 2006. Retrieved 23 January 2019
  2. "Boston University Graduate Student Named One Of First 100 Homeland Security Fellows In Nation". Boston University. September 4, 2003. Retrieved 23 January 2019
  3. "OK, Ogi! Waltham man wins $500K on game show". November 8, 2006. Retrieved 23 January 2019
  4. "Who Wants To Be A Cognitive Scientist Millionaire? A Researcher Uses His Understanding Of The Human Brain To Advance On A Popular Quiz Show". November 9, 2006. Retrieved 23 January 2019
  5. Gonzalez, John. "The Gonz Show: Ogi Ogas". October 2007. Retrieved 23 January 2019
  6. " discussion boards". Retrieved 23 January 2019
  7. "". Gail Ross Literary Agency. Retrieved 23 January 2019
  8. "Sex, Lies and IRB Tape: Netporn to SurveyFail". 2009-09-06. Retrieved 2009-12-22

External links

Preceded by
Sweety Richardson
U.S. contestants
Ogi Ogas
Succeeded by
Dave Brunk