Prom Night: Stories from Proton Prom

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In this week’s episode we’re sharing some of the stories from our second annual fundraiser Proton Prom.

Part 1: Comedian Josh Gondelman is terrified when he gets a call that his father doesn’t remember there’s an ongoing pandemic.

Part 2: Growing up Ken Ono dreams of being anything but a mathematician.

Part 3: As a teenager, Eric Jankowski is inspired when he meets his science heroes.

Josh Gondelman is a writer and comedian who incubated in Boston before moving to New York City, where he currently lives and works as the head writer and an executive producer for Desus & Mero on Showtime. Previously, he spent five years at Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, first as a web producer and then as a staff writer where he earned four Emmy Awards, two Peabody Awards, and three WGA Awards. In 2016, Josh made his late night standup debut on Conan (TBS), and he has also performed on Late Night With Seth Meyers (NBC) and The Late Late Show with James Corden (CBS). Gondelman is also the author of the essay collection Nice Try: Stories of Best Intentions and Mixed Results published September 2019 by Harper Perennial. And as of 2019, he has become a regular panelist on NPR mainstay Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me. In Spring 2020, Gondelman launched his own podcast Make My Day, a comedy game show. And he was the co-creator of the popular Modern Seinfeld Twitter account. Josh’s most recent album Dancing On a Weeknight came out in 2019 on Blonde Medicine Records. (His prior album Physical Whisper debuted in March of 2016 at #1 on the iTunes comedy charts (as well as #4 on the Billboard comedy chart). Offstage, Gondelman is also the co-author (along with Joe Berkowitz) of the book You Blew It, published October 2015 by Plume. In the past, Josh has written for Fuse TV’s Billy On The Street. His writing has also appeared in prestigious publications such as McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, New York Magazine, and The New Yorker. Additionally, Josh has performed at the Rooftop Comedy Festival in Aspen, CO, and headlined at the Laugh Your Asheville Off Festival in Asheville, NC. More recently he has appeared in the Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival, the Bridgetown Comedy Festival, and SF Sketchfest. His debut standup comedy CD, Everything’s The Best was released in November of 2011 by Rooftop Comedy Productions.

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.

Eric Jankowski is an associate professor in the Micron School of Materials Science and Engineering at Boise State University as well as Story Collider’s Board President. He earned a PhD in chemical engineering at the University of Michigan where he also got pretty into bicycles, storytelling, and playing go. Eric's research leverages high performance computing to engineer new materials for sustainable energy production.

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