Professor Kenneth C. Millett

Picture of Ken Professor of Mathematics


Kenneth C. Millett is Professor of Mathematics at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

His short 2014 CV and an abbreviated list of publications with links to selected papers can be found here.

He has served as the Chair of The Chancellor's Outreach Advisory Board (COAB), as the Regional Director of the National Science Foundation funded
California Alliance for Minority Participation(1)and, as Director of UCSB's California Mathematics and Science Teaching Program.(2).  Dr. Millett served as the appointed University of California delegate to the national Academic Assembly and was elected Chair of the Western Regional Council of the College Board(4). He has served as member of the American Mathematical Society's Subcommittee on Undergraduate Education(5) and as a member of the Advisory Board of the AMS-SIAM project, "Employment and the U.S. Mathematics Doctorate: Connections with Non-Academic Opportunities." He is a member of the Board of Governors and the Science Policy Committee of the Mathematical Association of America. From 1983 through 1997 he was a member of the state wide Advisory Committee of the California Mathematics Project(6) and served as its Chair. He has been active in the work of the Mathematicians and Educational Reform Forum(7) and the South Coast Mathematics Partnership(8). Dr. Millett was the founding President and Executive Director of the California Coalition for Mathematics and Science(9). He is a member of the Mathematical Association of America, the American Mathematical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the European Mathematical Society, the Societe Mathematique de France, the Association for Women in Mathematics, the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science and Sigma Xi. In 1988 he received the Carl B. Allendoerfer eward and, in 1991, he received the Chauvenet Prize for an article on knot theory written with W. B. R. Lickorish. In 1998, he received the Award for Distinguished Public Service from the American Mathematical Society.  In 2000, he was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.  AAAS President Mary Good congratulated him on this recognition at the Fellows Forum held at the 2001 annual meeting.  In 2006, Dr. Millett was given the "Giant in Science" award by the QEM/MSE Network for his "outstanding contributions to the field of mathematics and to minority participation in STEM disciplines." In 2012, he was elected a Fellow of the American Mathematical Society.

He has had three Ph.D. students.

Henry Clay Fickle, Knots, Z-Homology Spheres and Contractible 4-Manifolds, June 1981.

Jorge Alberto Calvo , Geometric Knot Theory, June 1998, is an Associate Professor at Ave Maria University in Naples, FL.

Teresita Ramirez-Rosas, Quadrisecants and Ropelength of Knots, June 2009

and was the Co-director for

Eleni Panagiotou, A study of the topological entanglement of polymers, June 2012 National Technical University of Athens, Greece (with Lambropoulou and Theodorou)

Personal Background

Born in Hustisford, Wisconsin on November 16, 1941, Ken Millett grew up in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin. He graduated from Oconomowoc High School in 1959. His parents, Clarence and Isola Millett, still live there. His three sisters, Diane, Rita and Roxanne currently live in Pasadena, CA, San Antonio, TX and, Boulder, CO, respectively. He has two children: Rebecca, living in Cape Elizabeth, Maine with her husband, Kevin Kobel, and their two children, Christopher and Hannah, and David, a graduate of the University of California at Santa Cruz. His wife, Janis Cox Millett, has previously worked for the Office of the President of the University of California providing assistance to programs to increase access and success for all students, especially women and students of color. She assisted the creation of the California Mathematics Project and, for two years, was on leave to the Achievement Council, a privately funded program. In 2000, Janis received her Ed. D. and served as the founding director of the California Center for Effective Schools in the Givertz Graduate School of Education at UCSB.  Ken and Janis live in Santa Barbara, California and Grambois, France.

Education Background

Ken Millett received his Bachelors Degree in Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1963, received his Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy Degrees from the University of Wisconsin at Madison in 1964 and 1967, respectively. Following lecturer appointments at UCLA and MIT, he joined the faculty of the University of California as Santa Barbara in 1969. Since then he has been a visiting professor at the Institut des Hautes Etudes Scientifiques, Princeton University, Occidental College, UCLA, MSRI, several French research institutes and universities, most recently the Universite de Provence in Marseilles, and at the LOMI, Saint Petersburg. He has published over 50 scientific papers and edited four research volumes concerned with aspects of geometric topology, knot theory and, their applications to mathematics, computer science, physics, chemistry and, molecular biology. He has also written articles on mathematics education and educational reform as well as developing materials to increase public understanding and support for the renewal and reform of mathematics teaching and assessment.


1 The California Alliance for Minority Participation (CAMP) is an alliance of the eight campuses of the University of California working in collaboration with the California State University and the California Community Colleges to double the number of African American, Native American, Native Pacific Island, and Chicano/Latino students receiving advanced degrees in the mathematical sciences, the life and physical sciences and engineering in California. In recognition of its success, the Regents of the University of California provide additional funding for the CAMP effort.

2 The California Mathematics and Science Teaching Program provided fellowships to more than 200 students attending UCSB, Westmont College, Santa Barbara City College, Allan Hancock College, Ventura College and, Oxnard College in connection with their work in regional mathematics and science classrooms. The principal mission of the program is to encourage students of color to explore mathematics and science teaching careers and, in the course of their work, provide junior high and high school students with strong role models who can encourage them to become mathematically and scientifically successful and to continue their studies at the college and university level. This program is partially supported by the University of California's Community Teaching Fellowship Program and by the NSF funded California Alliance for Minority Participation.

3 The Mathematics component Achievement Program (MAP) was created in 1988 to promote mathematical achievement among students of color. MAP now supports over 100 students each quarter at all levels of undergraduate study. MAP served as the model for programs in statistics, biological sciences, chemistry, geography, geology and physics that now form the core of the CAMP effort at UCSB.

4 The goal of the College Board is "Educational Excellence for All Students." Established in 1900, it is a national, nonprofit association of about 3,000 education organizations committed to achieving this goal. There are three national assemblies: Guidance and Admission, Academic Affairs, and College Scholarship Service. Among the Board's better know services are the Advanced Placement Program and the SAT, PSAT/NMSQT. The principal thrusts of the Board are programs directed to promoting access and success of students of color, for example EQUITY 2000 and Pacesetter.

5 The American Mathematical Society (AMS), founded in 1880 to further mathematical research and scholarship, has over 30,000 members. Its mission is to promote mathematical research, strengthen mathematical education, and foster awareness and appreciation of mathematics and its connection to other disciplines and everyday life. The Committee on Undergraduate Education advises the Society on issues concerning undergraduate mathematics programs. The Sloan Foundation has funded a joint effort of the AMS and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics to undertake analysis of employment of PhD's in mathematics outside academia.

6 The California Mathematics Project funds seventeen sites in collaborative professional development programs devised to improve the quality of mathematics education in California and thereby develop in all students at all grade levels throughout the state an enhanced sense of mathematical power.

7 The Mathematicians and Educational Reform Forum in an alliance of teachers of mathematics and mathematics departments interested devoted to the improvement of mathematics education in the United States. Dr. Millett serves on the advisory committee to the Departmental Network, a confederation of 13 leading mathematics departments.

8 The "Partnership" engaged university, community college, high school, junior high school and elementary school teachers in work to improve the teaching and learning of mathematics in the South Coast area (including Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties). With funding from the University of California, the participating school districts, and a grant for the California Eisenhower Grant program, one of the principal activities of the Partnership is a summer program that brings university and community college students, especially students of color, interested in mathematics teaching careers into an intensive two month summer program. During this program, participants receive training in the use of new mathematics curricula and teaching and assessment strategies, they work with experienced teacher partners in summer mathematics programs for underrepresented students and they complete and present a capstone project. The 1995 program supported more than 20 students.

9 The California Coalition for Mathematics and Science was an alliance of California's education, public policy, government, professional, and business leaders dedicated to a statewide collaborative initiative seeking the systemic reform of mathematics education and the mathematical empowering of all citizens for success in an increasingly technological world.