Ken Ono served as the mathematical consultant for the 2015 film (just out on DVD and Netflix), “The Man Who Knew Infinity.” In the film Dev Patel plays Indian math genius Srinivasa Ramanujan whose work so impressed Cambridge don H.D. Hardy, played by Jeremy Irons, that Hardy invited him to come to Britain to study with him. What fascinated Hardy has been a source of inspiration and bewilderment to mathematicians every since. How could a young man from colonial India who never had the opportunity to formally study high math have possibly come up with the theorems that Ramanujan postulated. Ono, who studies Ramanujan’s notebooks was uniquely qualified to act as the film’s math adviser. He admires the film’s director, Matt Brown, and its stars for wanting to understand the math behind the story they portrayed.
Ono’s memoir, “My Search for Ramanujan,” is about his struggles with perfection and his reinvention of himself as a mathematician of international standing. Ono teaches at Emory University where he also does research.
One of Ono’s current projects is a global search for undiscovered mathematical talent. This project, the Spirit of Ramanujan Math Talent Initiative, is underwritten by the Templeton World Charity Foundation. For more information visit this link.
Ono will be reading from his memoir at the Decatur Book Festival on Saturday at the Marriott Conference Center at 11:15 a.m.
Franklin Abbott is an Atlanta psychotherapist and consultant, writer and community organizer.