Mathematician Ken Ono to give talk at MHC

"My Search for Ramanujan: How I Learned to Count" by Ken Ono

By Alheri Egor-Egbe ’17 

Ken Ono wanted to study mathematics like his prominent mathematician father, but he faced a unique challenge: an intellectual diet too heavy on mathematics. Ono dropped out of high school to chart his own course, invoking the  the story of the mathematical savant Srinivasa Ramanujan to obtain the approval of his parents. 

Now a respected mathematician himself, Ono discusses his unconventional path and how he found inspiration from Ramanujan in a new book, My Search for Ramanujan: How I Learned to Count. He will speak about the book on Thursday, November 10, at 7:30 pm in Hooker Auditorium at Mount Holyoke College. 

In his book, part memoir and part biography, Ono interweaves Ramanujan’s story with his own rocky path. He describes how his mentors encouraged him to explore Ramanujan’s short—he died in 1920 at the age of 32—but extraordinary career. 

A recognized authority on Ramanujan, Ono served as associate producer and consultant on The Man Who Knew Infinity, a film based on Ramanujan’s life and career. He will share clips from the film at his lecture, entitled “Gems of Ramanujan and Their Lasting Impact on Mathematics.” 

Ono currently is the Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science at Emory University. His awards include a Presidential Career Award and recognition from the National Science Foundation as a Distinguished Teaching Scholar. 

The event is sponsored by the Department of Mathematics and Statistics and the Odyssey Bookshop.