MacArthur Mashup

The MacArthur Fellowships were announced today. These are particularly great, as it’s awarded across so many different fields, and I always learn about interesting work going on by reading the synopses at the website. Congratulations to all recipients!! Before I point to the list, I’d like to make a plea that will, of course, go unheeded.

Please please, people of the media, stop calling them “genius grants”. Just stop. By way of explanation, I can’t quite put my finger on it, but the term just seems to strike the wrong tone about what these things should be about. It seems to me to push the recipients away as being “other” rather than encouraging us all to embrace the qualities that they are being encouraged to show by getting the fellowships. Ok, that’s the end of my plea.

Here’s a reminder of what the Fellowship is about (extract from their site):

The MacArthur Fellows Program awards unrestricted fellowships to talented individuals who have shown extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction. There are three criteria for selection of Fellows: exceptional creativity, promise for important future advances based on a track record of significant accomplishment, and potential for the fellowship to facilitate subsequent creative work.

The MacArthur Fellows Program is intended to encourage people of outstanding talent to pursue their own creative, intellectual, and professional inclinations. In keeping with this purpose, the Foundation awards fellowships directly to individuals rather than through institutions. Recipients may be writers, scientists, artists, social scientists, humanists, teachers, entrepreneurs, or those in other fields, with or without institutional affiliations. They may use their fellowship to advance their expertise, engage in bold new work, or, if they wish, to change fields or alter the direction of their careers.

Anyway, here’s the list of this years MacArthur Fellowship recipients this year. Quite a varied and interesting bunch, by several measures. If you know more about any of the projects, or have some thoughts, don’t be shy – tell us a bit about it in the comments.


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