He got a call to consult on the Hollywood film The Man Who Knew Infinity, starring Jeremy Irons and Dev Patel. The director was so impressed with his knowledge of the life and work of Indian math prodigy Ramanujan that he invited him on set. By the time the credits rolled, he was an associate producer on the movie. But Ono’s own life would make a fascinating big-screen story: a high school dropout pushes away from an intellectually gifted family and his father’s academic legacy, only to be given a chance at college and advanced studies in the very field he avoided for so long. 

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About Key Conversations

Key Conversations with Phi Beta Kappa is a podcast featuring in-depth conversations between Fred Lawrence, Secretary/CEO of Phi Beta Kappa, and Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholars. With a new episode released monthly, each podcast invites listeners to take a seat at the table to learn more about the featured Scholar's background, research, and how they have taken their respective paths to where they are now, and where they are headed. 

Since 1956, the Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar Program has been offering undergraduates the opportunity to spend time with some of America's most distinguished scholars. The purpose of the program is to contribute to the intellectual life of the campus by making possible an exchange of ideas between the Visiting Scholars and the resident faculty and students.​

Ken Ono, University of Virginia   

Ken Ono is the Thomas Jefferson Professor of Mathematics at the University of Virginia and the Vice President of the American Mathematical Society.  He earned his PhD from UCLA in 1993, and he has published several monographs and over 180 research and popular articles in number theory, combinatorics and algebra. Professor Ono has received many awards for his research, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Packard Fellowship and a Sloan Fellowship. He was awarded a Presidential Early Career Award for Science and Engineering (PECASE) by Bill Clinton in 2000 and he was named the National Science Foundation's Distinguished Teaching Scholar in 2005. He was also an associate producer of the 2016 Hollywood film "The Man Who Knew Infinity," which starred Jeremy Irons and Dev Patel. 

Our Host

Our Host

Frederick M. Lawrence is the 10th Secretary and CEO of the Phi Beta Kappa Society. An accomplished scholar, teacher and attorney, he is one of the nation’s leading experts on civil rights, free expression, and bias crimes. Learn More.

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