Ken Olson was born in Chicago in 1935. He graduated from Morgan Park High School in 1953, where he was editor-in-chief of the school newspaper. He graduated from Northwestern University in 1957 with a B.S. in chemical engineering. He continued his studies at Northwestern and worked at Argonne National Labs in nuclear fuel reprocessing. He received his Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of Minnesota in 1962. From then on, Ken spent his entire career at the Stamford Labs of American Cyanamid (which later became Cytec Industries and later Solvay) working on process development and plant technical support. Ken and his wife Erna live in Darien. They have a daughter and two granddaughters living in Atlanta and another daughter living in Norwalk. Ken belongs to the First Congregational Church in Greenwich and enjoys kayaking, traveling and gardening (especially growing dahlias).