Ken Ono

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Ken Ono
Ken Ono Washington 2009.jpg
Ken Ono in 2009
Nationality  United States
Fields Mathematics
Institutions Emory University
University of Wisconsin–Madison
Alma mater UCLA
University of Chicago
Doctoral advisor Basil Gordon
Notable students Daniel Kane (mathematician)
Karl Mahlburg
Robert Schneider
Gwynneth Coogan

Ken Ono (born 1968) is an American mathematician who specializes in number theory, especially in integer partitions, modular forms, and the fields of interest to Srinivasa Ramanujan. He was the Manasse Professor of Letters and Science and the Hilldale Professor of Mathematics at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

He is currently the Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Mathematics at Emory University.


He received his BA from the University of Chicago in 1989, where he was a member of the Psi Upsilon fraternity. He earned his PhD in 1993 at UCLA where his advisor was Basil Gordon.

Ono's contributions include several monographs and over 140 research and popular articles in number theory, combinatorics, and algebra. He is considered to be an expert in the theory of integer partitions and modular forms. In 2000 he 'greatly' expanded Ramanujan's theory of partition congruences, and in work with Kathrin Bringmann he has made important contributions to the theory of Maass forms, functions which include Ramanujan's mock theta functions as examples. In 2007 Don Zagier gave a Seminar Bourbaki address on the work of Bringmann, Ono, and Zwegers on the mock theta functions. The 2009 SASTRA Ramanujan Prize, awarded to a young mathematician under the age of 32, has been awarded to Kathrin Bringmann for this joint work with Ono. In 2012 Ono made world news for his work proving the last open conjectures contained in Ramanujan's enigmatic death-bed letter to G. H. Hardy.

Ono has received many awards for his research. In April 2000 he received the Presidential Career Award (PECASE) from Bill Clinton in a ceremony at the White House, and in June 2005 he received the National Science Foundation Director's Distinguished Teaching Scholar Award at the National Academy of Science. He has also won a Sloan Fellowship, a Packard Fellowship, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. In 2012 he became a fellow of the American Mathematical Society.[1]

In the 1980s he attended Towson High School. He left high school early to attend the University of Chicago and race bicycles. He was a member of the Pepsi-Miyata Cycling Team. In recent years, Ono has resumed athletic training as a runner, swimmer and cyclist; since 2012, he has competed in triathlons as a member of Team USA.

His father, Takashi Ono, is also a mathematician. His brother Santa J. Ono is an immunologist and President of the University of Cincinnati.

In 2011 Ono gave a TED talk. [2]

In a joint work with Jan Bruinier, he recently discovered a finite formula for computing partition numbers.[3]

He stars in the 2013 docudrama "The genius of Srinivasa Ramanujan".[4]

He is profiled in the May 2014 issue of Scientific American. [5] (See also [6]) His work with Michael Griffin and Ole Warnaar on their framework of Rogers-Ramanujan identities made world news in 2014. Their work was 15th among the top 100 stories in science in Discover_(magazine) magazine [7]


Ken Ono now lives in Atlanta GA with his wife Erika, daughter Aspen, and son Sage.

Honors and awards[edit]

  • National Security Agency Young Investigator (1997)
  • National Science Foundation CAREER Award (1998)
  • Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Research Fellowship (1999)
  • David and Lucile Packard Research Fellowship (1999)
  • Presidential Early Career Award (awarded by Clinton) (2000)
  • National Science Foundation CBMS Distinguished Lecturer (2003)
  • John S. Guggenheim Fellowship (2003)
  • Manasse Professor of Letters and Science, U. Wisconsin (2004–2011)
  • National Science Foundation Director's Distinguished Teaching Scholar Award (2005)
  • Hilldale Professor of Mathematics, U. Wisconsin (2008–2011)
  • Candler Professor of Mathematics, Emory University (2010–present)
  • Fellow of the American Mathematical Society (2013)
  • Albert E. Levy Award for Scientific Research (2014)

Editorial Boards[edit]

Ono is on the editorial board of thirteen journals:

See also[edit]


External links[edit]