Proton Prom: Stories from our Proton Prom storytellers

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In anticipation of our upcoming Proton Prom, this week we’re re-airing the first Story Collider stories from two of the storytellers who will be performing at the event.

Part 1: When Aparna Nancherla's science fair project goes awry, she and her fellow students make some unethical choices.

Part 2: After a reluctant start, mathematician Ken Ono makes an unexpected discovery.

Aparna Nancherla is a comedian and general silly billy. Her sense of humor is dry, existential, and absurd, with notes of uncalled-for whimsy. Think a wine you didn’t order. You can watch Aparna as Grace the belabored HR rep on the Comedy Central show, Corporate or hear her as the voice of Hollyhock on Bojack Horseman. She also has a half-hour special on the second season of The Standups on Netflix, as well as appearances on Late Night with Stephen Colbert on CBS and Two Dope Queens on HBO. Other acting credits include A Simple Favor, Crashing, High Maintenance, Master of None, and Inside Amy Schumer. Aparna was also named one of “The 50 Funniest People Right Now” by Rolling Stone. She also co-hosted the 2018 Women’s March Rally in NYC. In 2019, she was in a Super Bowl commercial with Michael Bublé for sparkling water neé seltzer.

In 2016, she released her debut album, Just Putting It Out There, on Tig Notaro’s label, Bentzen Ball Records, and recorded a half hour special for Comedy Central. On Monday nights, she co-hosts Butterboy at Littlefield in Park Slope, Brooklyn at 8 p.m. with genius treasures Jo Firestone and Maeve Higgins.

Ken Ono is the Thomas Jefferson Professor of Mathematics at the University of Virginia and the Chair of Mathematics at the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He has published over 200 research articles in number theory. 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 an associate producer of the 2016 Hollywood film The Man Who Knew Infinity, which starred Jeremy Irons and Dev Patel. Earlier this year he put his math skills to work in a Super Bowl week commercial for Miller Lite beer.

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