MacArthur Foundation hands out genius grants to 23 ultra-talented people

“A phone call out of the blue; $500,000 – no strings attached”

Reads the front page for the MacArthur Foundation. Sometimes called the genius grants, they are awarded to the ultra-talented in nearly any field – writers, scientists, photographers. Young and old, this year’s recipients range from 31 to 66 years old. And like the quote says, $500,000 over five years is provided and never talked about again, “in the spirit of fostering intellectual freedom.”

Officially called the MacArthur Fellows, 23 were awarded this year with a focus on “works to defend human rights, advance global conservation and security, make cities better places, and understand how technology is affecting children and society.”

The foundation is one of the largest in the world worth $5.7 billion in 2011 – and awarding $230 million in that same year.

A selection of the winners:

Natalie Almada – documentary filmmaker capturing complex views of Mexican history, politics, and culture as both an art form and a tool for social change.

Claire Chase – arts entrepreneur forging a new model for the commissioning, recording, and live performance of classical music.

Dylan C. Penningroth – historian studying property ownership among former slaves and their children in the United States.

Terry Plank – geochemist probing the invisible but remarkably powerful thermal and chemical forces deep below the Earth’s crust that drive the motion of tectonic plate collisions.

Read about all 23 ultra-talented winners.

 

Source: L.A. Times

2012 MacArthur Fellow – Melody Swartz, Bioengineer. (source: Macfound)

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