Meet This Year's 21 MacArthur 'Geniuses'

MacArthur Foundation picks new batch of fellows for $625K award
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 17, 2014 6:35 AM CDT
Meet This Year's 21 MacArthur 'Geniuses'
In this Sept. 10, 2014, photo, physicist Danielle S. Bassett poses in the lab area of her office at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.   (AP Photo/Courtesy of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Jeff Fusco)

A 71-year-old historian, a 32-year-old physicist, poets, musicians, lawyers: The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has selected this year's crop of "geniuses"—recipients of a coveted fellowship that includes a $625,000 stipend over five years. Among the winners:

  • Physicist Danielle Bassett, the youngest recipient at 32, studies communication within the brain, the New York Times reports. Told she'd won, "I said, ‘Are you absolutely sure you got the right person?'"
  • Science historian Pamela Long of Washington, DC, is the oldest winner. The 71-year-old investigates the relationship between science and art.
  • Cartoonist Alison Bechdel, 54, wrote and drew the 2006 memoir Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic. She also developed a simple test for gender equality in film, NPR reports: Do two women talk to each other about something other than men?

  • Joshua Oppenheimer, 39, is known for the controversial documentary The Act of Killing, which investigates mass murder in Indonesia.
  • Jennifer Eberhardt, 49, studies unconscious bias against African-Americans in the criminal justice system, including how facial features influence the odds of receiving the death penalty.
  • Rick Lowe, 53, runs a program in which artists work for the community in Houston, undertaking, for instance, the renovation of homes.
  • Composer Steve Coleman "draws equally from rigorous examination of music theory, esoteric natural science and myth, and Charlie Parker," writes Patrick Jarenwattananon at NPR.
  • Mary Bonauto, 53, was a key lawyer in ending the Defense of Marriage Act.
(Read more MacArthur genius stories.)

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