Ouyang was born in 1935 in Ji'an, Jiangxi. He obtained a degree in geology at the Beijing College of Geology and a doctorate in mineral deposits and geochemistry at the Beijing Institute of Geology. Thereafter, Ouyang spent many years conducting studies in deep mines. He later studied nuclear physics and worked in a particle accelerator laboratory. He later put forward a hypothesis of the formation of iron meteorites, an evolutionary model of the formation of the meteorites which fell at Jilin in 1976, and a theory of multi-stage cosmic ray radiation history. His works include Celestial Chemistry, and he has published more than 160 scientific treatises. He was elected a Member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in 1991.
On November 12, 2008, upon China's publication of a comprehensive lunar surface map, Ouyang encouraged all three Asian nations then involved in lunar exploration (China, India and Japan) to increase co-operation in furthering humanity's understanding of the Moon.