Ken Ono is the STEM Advisor to the Provost and the Marvin Rosenblum Professor of Mathematics. He is a Fellow of the Shannon Center for Advanced Studies. He studies mathematics, specializing in Algebra, Arithmetic Geometry, Combinatorics and Number Theory. He is actively involved in mentoring mathematicians of all ages. At the undergraduate level, he has been organizing research programs for undergraduate students for 25 years. He has advised 32 PhD students and 17 postdocs. Outside the traditional university setting, he is the Founder and Director of the Spirit of Ramanujan Global STEM Talent Search, which supports emerging engineers, mathematicians, and scientists who lack traditional institutional support through financial grants and mentorship opportunities.
Ono's professional service has included leadership roles in various professional organizations, such as Vice President of the American Mathematical Society, Chair of the Mathematics Section of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, member of the US National Committee for Mathematics at the US National Academy of Sciences, member of the advisory board of the Conference Board of the Mathematical Sciences, US delegate to the General Assembly of the International Mathematics Union, and Chairman of the Department of Mathematics at UVa.
Ono earned his PhD in Mathematics from UCLA in 1993, and he earned his BA in Mathematics from the University of Chicago in 1989. He is a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, David and Lucile Packard Fellowship, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellowship, and an NSF CAREER Award. In 2000 he received a Presidential Early Career Award from Bill Clinton at a ceremony at the White House. In 2005 he was named the National Science Foundation Director’s Distinguished Teaching Scholar, the highest honor awarded by NSF for excellence in research and teaching. He is a Fellow of the American Mathematical Society, and he is the recipient of the 2023 University of Chicago Alumni Medal for Professional Achievement.
Outside academia, he has a footprint in film and sports. He was an Associate Producer of the Hollywood film The Man Who Knew Infinity, which starred Dev Patel and Jeremy Irons. He is a member of the board of the Infinity Arts Foundation, and building on his lifelong interest in Olympic sports, he is a technical consultant for elite swimmers, having advised multiple NCAA national champions and Olympic medalists.