Previous Speakers: John Oprea (2008-09), Brian Conrey (2009-10), William Dunham (2010-11), David Bressoud (2011-12), Keith Devlin (2012-13), Ed Burger (2013-14), Arthur Benjamin (2014-15), Simon Singh (2015-16), Tom Banchoff (2016-17)
Tenth Annual Baylor Undergraduate Lecture Series in Mathematics
Speaker: Ken Ono
Professor Ken Ono is currently the Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Mathematics at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. He specializes in number theory, especially in integer partitions, modular forms, Umbral moonshine, and the fields of interest to Srinivasa Ramanujan. Prior to his appointment at Emory University, he was the Manasse Professor of Letters and Science and the Hilldale Professor of Mathematics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Dr. Ono received his BA from the University of Chicago in 1989 and he earned his PhD in 1993 at UCLA where his advisor was Basil Gordon. Ono's mathematical contributions include several monographs and over 160 research and popular articles in number theory, combinatorics, and algebra. He is an expert in the theory of integer partitions and modular forms. Recently he and his collaborators have announced a proof of the famous Umbral Moonshine Conjecture, a subject that he will address in his second Baylor lecture.
Dr. 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. In 2011 and 2015 Ono gave TED talks.
Dr. Ono stars in the 2013 docudrama The Genius of Srinivasa Ramanujan. He is profiled in the May 2014 issue of Scientific American. He was an Associate Producer and the mathematical consultant for the movie The Man Who Knew Infinity based on Ramanujan's biography written by Robert Kanigel. It is this movie and the work of Ramanujan that is the focus of Dr. Ono's public lecture on January 18.
The titles, and abstracts, for Dr. Ono's two lectures are:
Thursday, January 18, 2018 at 4:00 pm - Room TBD
Abstract: Ramanujan's work has has a truly transformative effect on modern mathematics, and continues to do so as we understand further lines from his letters and notebooks. In this lecture, the speaker will talk about Ramanujan matters today, and explain why Hollywood made the 2016 film about him. The speaker is an Associate Producer of the film The Man Who Knew Infinity (starring Dev Patel and Jeremy Irons) about Ramanujan. He will share several clips from the film in the lecture. The speaker will also share some of Ramanujan’s work which are most accessible to the general public.
Friday, January 19, 2018 at 4:00 pm - Room TBD
Abstract: Richard Borcherds won the Fields medal in 1998 for his proof of the Monstrous Moonshine Conjecture. Formulated in 1979 by John Conway and Simon Norton, the conjecture asserts that the representation theory of the Monster, the largest sporadic finite simple group, is dictated by the Fourier expansions of a distinguished set of modular functions. This conjecture arose from astonishing coincidences noticed by finite group theorists and arithmetic geometers. Recently, mathematical physicists have revisited moonshine, and they discovered evidence of undiscovered moonshine which some believe will have applications to string theory and 3d quantum gravity. The speaker and his collaborators have been developing the mathematical facets of this theory, and have proved the conjectures which have been formulated. These results include a proof of the Umbral Moonshine Conjecture, and the last remaining problem raised by Conway and Norton in their groundbreaking 1979 paper. The most recent Moonshine (announced here) yields unexpected applications to the arithmetic of elliptic curves thanks to theorems related to the Birch and Swinnerton-Dyer Conjecture and the Main Conjectures of Iwasawa theory for modular forms. This is joint work with John Duncan, Michael Griffin and Michael Mertens.