University of Virginia math professor Ken Ono, who Russell Mark called a “secret weapon” in a conversation with UVA head coach Todd DeSorbo, is starring in a Super Bowl week advertisement for Miller64 beer.
Ono’s list of accomplishments in mathematics include:
- Sloan, Packard and Guggenheim fellowships
- Vice President of the American Mathematical Society
- Chair of the Mathematics Section in the American Association for the Advancement of Science
- Academic Influence named him one of the world’s 15 most influential mathematicians in 2020
- Won the Presidential CAREER Award
- Named a Distinguished Teaching Scholar by the National Science Foundation.
The ad, titled “The World’s Most Debated Math Problem”, begins with Ono listing his accomplishments in mathematics. Ono is then asked a new math problem, which the ad claims is the “world’s most debated math problem”: what number is smaller, 80 or 64? A bemused Ono answers “64”, and the ad triumphantly declares that Miller has proof that 64 is less than 80. Miller64 is a competitor to Bud Light NEXT, which has 80 calories.
This was not Ono’s first time in front of a camera. The math professor has his own IMDB page, and his credits include a producer role for the film “The Man Who Knew Infinity”, as well as several appearances on shows on the History Channel and National Geographic.
Ono’s Work with UVA Swimming
Ono also works with UVA swimming, after being recommended to Todd DeSorbo by Russell Mark. In his work with the swim team, Ono uses sensors and cameras to record data and then “graphs the swimmer’s acceleration and the g-forces acting against them and compares it to the efforts of some of the many world-class and Olympic athletes he’s worked with to identify opportunities for improvement and optimization”.
Coach DeSorbo said of Ono’s work that, “A lot of coaches are overwhelmed with the amount of data that we get. You get it, but you don’t always know how to translate it into what we’re doing in the water. The best thing about Dr. Ono is that he has enough awareness of the sport to be able to explain the data in a way that we can apply it.”
Olympic medalist Paige Madden said that Ono’s work with UVA swimming is having a “huge impact”, and that Ono “is inspiring”.
The Miller64 ad will play in the run-up to the Super Bowl, but will not air during the actual game.