Meet the 2022 MacArthur Fellows: 25 exceptionally creative people who push the boundaries of their fields and challenge us to imagine new possibilities. #MacFellow.
— MacArthur Foundation (@macfound) October 12, 2022
This year's 25 MacArthur Fellows will each receive $800,000, a "no-strings-attached award to extraordinarily talented and creative individuals as an investment in their potential." The fellows can advance their expertise, change careers or buy a house.https://t.co/2xcJMjbV8A
— Majid Maqbool (@MaqboolMajid) October 14, 2022
"The call. MacArthur fellows remember the call as a blur, a fog, a shock, a what?"
— MacArthur Foundation (@macfound) October 14, 2022
… October is awards season for the exceptionally smart. First, the Nobel Prizes and now the MacArthur fellowships, revealed Wednesday: highly remunerative honors that you can’t apply for, forever brand you as a genius and arrive, fabulously, with almost no strings attached.
When his phone rang, Reuben Jonathan Miller believed that the call would only bring more problems that he would have to solve, MacArthur fellows being in the business of solving immense problems the rest of us cannot.
“My work follows people who have been locked away in prison,” says Miller, 46, a University of Chicago sociologist and criminologist. “I thought the call was from a lawyer representing someone who had been in prison.”…
This year’s diverse class includes musicians, artists, writers, activists, plenty of hyphenates and many, many academics. It is composed of 15 women and 10 men, who hail from 15 states. The group includes nine Black fellows, seven Asian American, two Indigenous and one Chicana. The youngest recipient is 35 and the two eldest, age 69. So, possibly, there’s still time for the rest of us.
Among this year’s better-known recipients is Robin Wall Kimmerer, a botanist and member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation who wrote the stealth bestseller “Braiding Sweetgrass,” which blends Indigenous wisdom with scientific learning, asking readers to reconsider how they view and treat the natural world. Kimmerer ignored multiple calls from MacArthur administrators, to the point that they employed the ruse, which they’ve used to inform other winners, that “they wanted my confidential evaluation of a candidate,” she says. So she pulled to the side of a road on her way to a faculty retreat.
This year’s group includes Kiese Laymon, the Black Southern author of “Heavy: an American Memoir,” which has been acclaimed by critics, named one of the best personal histories of the last half century and banned by several school boards. Martha Gonzalez, another newly minted fellow, is a professor, “Chicana artivista,” feminist music theorist and member of the Grammy-winning ensemble Quetzal…
Melanie Matchett Wood, 41, a Harvard number theorist who also studies algebraic geometry, is an infectious mathematician. Her conversation frequently erupts into fireworks of laughter.
“I am filled with joy doing math — that’s why I love it,” Wood says. “It’s incredibly fun and fulfilling to me to work on. Nothing could beat my love of working on trying to figure out ways to solve new math problems.” As a teenager, she was the first female American to make the U.S. International Mathematical Olympiad Team, receiving silver medals in 1998 and 1999. She was also a cheerleader and editor of her school paper…
Wood is one of two mathematician fellows this year. June Huh, 39, at Princeton, once dreamed of being a poet. Growing up in Korea, his math potential was not first widely acknowledged by graduate schools. “In my first attempt, I didn’t get any offer,” he writes in an email. When he tried again two years later, he received only one, from the University of Illinois. Huh is having some year. In July, his work in geometric combinatorics won him the Fields Medal, given every four years to mathematicians younger than 40 and known as the “Nobel Prize in Mathematics.”
Many of this year’s fellows pursue new interdisciplinary areas of exploration and, with them, fresh job descriptors. Jenna Jambeck, 48, who’s an environmental engineer at the University of Georgia, considers herself an “open data citizen scientist,” sharing information with the public. Her interest in waste dates to early childhood. “As a kid, I was completely fascinated with what we then called a ‘dump,’ ” Jambeck says. She encourages lay people to become involved, recording waste they see in the Marine Debris Tracker mobile app she developed, to provide useful data about plastic waste pollution for scientific research. “I don’t share recommendations. I share data information so that communities around the world can be decision-makers,” Jambeck says…
— Priti Krishtel (@pritikrishtel) October 12, 2022
— Feminist Press (@FeministPress) October 12, 2022