CHICAGO, June 13 /PRNewswire/ -- The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation today named 25 recipients of this year's MacArthur Fellowships. Each will receive $500,000 over five years of "no strings attached" support. "MacArthur Fellows are chosen for their exceptional creativity, record of significant accomplishment, and potential for still greater achievement," said Daniel J. Socolow, director of the Fellows Program. "This new group of Fellows is a wonderful collection of extraordinary minds in motion." Among the new Fellows are: -- A producer who is refining the art of radio documentary as nonfiction storytelling through his use of a diversity of voices and contemporary media to produce sound portraits (David Isay) -- A photographer and curator who is a leading scholar in the investigation and recovery of the rich legacy of African-American photography (Deborah Willis) -- An architect and teacher who uses unlikely building materials, such as old tires, scrap wood, and bottles, to construct beautiful and ingenious homes in remote regions of Alabama (Samuel Mockbee) -- A woman who, working from her wheelchair, is championing the rights and changing the lives of women with disabilities in the poorest regions of the world (Susan Sygall) -- A physicist who is exploring the interactions between pure quantum physics and noisy experimental environments, investigating the effects of outside perturbations on the behavior of atoms (Hideo Mabuchi) -- A choreographer who uses a vocabulary rooted in human gestures to transform seemingly simple movements into rich expressions of dance (Susan Marshall) -- An archaeologist who is unearthing from the ruins of Greek and Roman civilization new theories and methodologies for interpreting the social and economic history of the ancient world (Susan Alcock) "Much of the Foundation's work centers on support for organizations and institutions," said Jonathan Fanton, president of the MacArthur Foundation. "As in previous years, the announcement of new Fellows serves to remind us of the importance of talented individuals in the quest for a more just, beautiful, and humane world at peace. Their scholarship, artistic accomplishments, and public service celebrate creativity across the broad range of human endeavor." "The Fellows are selected as individuals," said Socolow, "but when we look at them as a group, unexpected and interesting threads emerge that weave them together. Considered from different perspectives, these Fellows are mining history, creating from raw materials, redefining motion, illuminating responsibility, defending the environment, and challenging boundaries." It is impossible to apply for the MacArthur Fellowships. There is no application or interview process, and first word of the award comes in the form of a phone call from the Foundation. "It is the first and only call we make to them, and it can be life-changing," said Socolow. Several hundred people serve as nominators for the Fellows Program. These nominators, who serve anonymously, are chosen for their ability to identify people who demonstrate exceptional creativity in their work. A 13-member Selection Committee, whose members also serve anonymously, makes recommendations to the Foundation's Board of Directors. The Foundation neither requires nor expects specific projects from the Fellows, nor does it ask for reports on how the money is used. An important underpinning of the program is confidence that the Fellows are in the best position to decide how to make the most effective use of the Fellowship resources. While there are no quotas or limits, typically between 20 and 40 Fellows are selected annually. Including today's group, a total of 588 Fellows, ranging in age from 18 to 82, have been named since the program began in 1981. The full list of Fellows from 1981 to 1999 can be found on the MacArthur Foundation's Web site at http://www.macfound.org. Brief Biographies of the MacArthur Fellows for 2000 Susan Alcock Associate Professor of Classical Archaeology and Classics University of Michigan Age: 39 Residence: Ann Arbor, Michigan Alcock, a scholar of Greek and Roman archaeology, works at the intersection of social history and archaeology, weaving new theoretical and methodological approaches into the reconstruction of the history of the ancient world. Her first book, Graecia Capta (1993), focused on the interpretation of survey data and provided a new and complex picture of demographic change and settlement patterns during Roman domination of Greece. Since then, Alcock has expanded her focus to include more intangible aspects of the ancient world -- the power of religion in shaping the landscape, and Greek and Roman perceptions of the terrain they inhabited. K. Christopher Beard Associate Curator of Vertebrate Paleontology Carnegie Museum of Natural History Age: 38 Residence: Mars, Pennsylvania Web site: http://www.clpgh.org/cmnh/vp/beard.html Beard, a paleontologist, is reshaping critical debates about the evolutionary origins of mammals, including primates, routinely questioning current thinking about their geographical origins. He recently identified in China evidence of an unexpected radiation of anthropoid primates that predates the earliest African forms; this led him to postulate that early anthropoids originated in Asia rather than Africa. He has consistently exhibited a willingness to challenge traditional ideas and propose bold alternative interpretations. Lucy Blake President Sierra Business Council Age: 40 Residence: Sierraville, California Web site: http://tahoe.ceres.ca.gov/sbc/ Blake melds her experience in politics and environmental protection to develop a novel approach to conservation in the Sierra Nevada region. Her group, the Sierra Business Council, is recognized nationally as an example of how communities can integrate social, economic, and environmental concerns in mutually supportive ways. Blake has sought to break down the polarization between economic growth and environmental stewardship by demonstrating the interests of local businesses in ecological protection. She has convinced hundreds of business owners in the Sierra Nevada region to act in concert to protect the region's environmental resources. Anne Carson Professor Department of History, McGill University Holloway Fellow, English Department, University of California, Berkeley (Spring 2000) Age: 49 Residences: Berkeley, California; Montreal, Canada Carson is a scholar trained in the classics who has developed an independent voice as both a poet and an essayist. Her work challenges preconceived notions of poetry, fusing classical topics with a unique and thoroughly modern style and sensibility. Peter Hayes Executive Director Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainable Development Age: 47 Residence: Berkeley, California Web site: http://www.nautilus.org Hayes works at the nexus of security, environment, and energy policy problems in Northeast Asia, with a special focus on North Korea. He both studies and seeks to shape energy policy in the region, where military and economic policies will have a significant effect on global security and environmental preservation in the twenty-first century. Through the Nautilus Institute, which he co-founded, he has striven to enhance the area's security, prosperity, and environmental sustainability, combining rigorous multidisciplinary training and technological knowledge with cultural sensitivity, policy acumen, and diplomatic skills. David Isay Independent Radio Producer Age: 34 Residence: New York, New York Web site: http://www.soundports.org An independent radio producer based in New York, Isay incorporates impeccable craftsmanship and a strong social conscience into his first-person nonfiction storytelling. He has refined the art of radio documentary, drawing raw human responses from a diversity of voices and employing contemporary media to capture ear, heart, and mind. He has also experimented with transforming his audio portraits into books, photographs, and museum exhibits. Alfredo Jaar Artist Age: 44 Residence: New York, New York Jaar challenges commonly held opinions about the relationship between art and politics. He fuses the aesthetic and the ethical to focus on injustices around the world -- poverty, exploitation, genocide. His images are often presented within complex but spare installations comprising found objects, posters, projected images, reflective surfaces, and photo-text pieces, showing the tangled effects of international economic and political realities on the lives of individuals. Ben Katchor Cartoonist Age: 48 Residence: New York, New York Web site: http://www.drizzle.com/~ash/9901/imagined/katchor.html Katchor has distilled through the medium of the comic strip an art rich with history, sociology, fiction, and poetry. His meditations on urban life represent a sustained effort to reimagine the history of New York, recalling the nineteenth- and early twentieth-century city of words, with its placards and signs, inscriptions and sandwich boards, lost places of entertainment and instruction, and forgotten forms of craft and industry. Though clearly fictional, his strips convey an ironic, compelling, and bittersweet nostalgia for the detritus of city life. Hideo Mabuchi Assistant Professor of Physics California Institute of Technology Age: 28 Residence: Pasadena, California Web site: http://www.its.caltech.edu/~hmabuchi/ Mabuchi is a young physicist who uses optical methods to extend our understanding of quantum behavior in a noisy environment. Mabuchi's studies provide a critical experimental vehicle for exploring how thermodynamic processes mask quantum behavior, and how their interaction might be harnessed for important practical uses. Susan Marshall Artistic Director/Choreographer Susan Marshall & Company Age: 41 Residence: New York, New York By interweaving movement, structure, imagery, and drama, Marshall's choreography illuminates the contemporary condition. A unique vision and an original voice lie behind the art's deceptive simplicity. Marshall's highly athletic, physical idiom is technically demanding and fuses ballet and modern and post-modern release styles with everyday actions. Her vocabulary is rooted in human gestures from which she fashions complex permutations that transform simple movements into rich expressions of dance. Samuel Mockbee Partner, Mockbee/Coker Alumni Professor of Architecture, Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama Age: 55 Residence: Canton, Mississippi Web site: http://www.auburn.edu/academic/architecture/arch/rural/index.html Mockbee is an architect who has erased the boundary between experimental design and social consciousness. In 1993 he co-founded Auburn University's Rural Studio, a program that combines the teaching of architecture with a commitment to public service. He and his students construct surprising, functional, and beautiful structures along rural roads in one of Alabama's most remote counties. Cecilia Munoz Vice President Office of Research, Advocacy, and Legislation National Council of La Raza Age: 37 Residence: Silver Springs, Maryland Munoz is a leader in immigration and civil rights policy and a respected representative of the Latino community. She is a policy analyst, political strategist, and champion of the rights, welfare, and opportunities of indigent legal immigrants. She has successfully built and led issue-based coalitions and is a major force in such issues as the legalization of undocumented aliens, family-based immigration rights, workplace and farm workers' rights, and access to welfare benefits and education. Munoz combines keen strategic instincts and powerful negotiating skills with the ability to craft new solutions where others see only impasse. Margaret Murnane Professor of Physics, University of Colorado Fellow of JILA Age: 41 Residence: Boulder, Colorado Murnane works at the leading edge of applied optical physics. She has made important strides in three aspects of laser pulse generation: brevity, power, and frequency. These advances hold significant implications for understanding the physical basis for the interaction of light and matter, as well as for practical engineering applications. Laura Otis Associate Professor of English, Hofstra University Age: 38 Residence: Port Washington, New York Trained in biology and comparative literature, Otis illuminates the unexpected interrelationship of scientific advances and literature in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In her analyses, Otis tracks a central metaphor through a wide range of scientific and literary texts, demonstrating the complex interplay between empirical and artistic sensibilities. Her research crosses the traditional boundaries of comparative literature, science history, and social history, creating a new analytic approach at their interface. Lucia Perillo Associate Professor, Creative Writing Program Southern Illinois University Age: 41 Residence: Carbondale, Illinois Perillo is a young poet whose unusual work marries speechlike naturalness to intellectual complexity and emotional power. She has developed a signature voice marked by an urban speed and a narrative style driven by characterization and drama. Matthew Rabin Professor of Economics University of California, Berkeley Age: 36 Residence: San Francisco, California Web site: http://emlab.berkeley.edu/users/rabin/webcv.html Rabin is a pioneer in behavioral economics, a field that applies such psychological insights as fairness, impulsiveness, biases, and risk aversion to economic theory and research. He is credited with influencing the practice of economics by seamlessly integrating psychology and economics, freeing economists to talk with new perspectives on such phenomena as group behavior and addiction. Rabin has demonstrated particular strength in distilling from psychological research those insights that can be modeled mathematically. Carl Safina Vice President for Marine Conservation National Audubon Society Age: 45 Residence: Islip, New York Safina is a scientist, writer, public advocate, and champion for oceans and the life they contain. He combines scientific expertise, passion for the environment, and pragmatism to address threats facing marine life and resources. He is committed to dispelling the misconception that oceans provide a limitless source of food and other resources and space for dumping waste. His creative use of scientific and communication skills has encouraged various regulatory bodies to acknowledge new scientific developments and to move toward better protection of the environment. Through his writing and advocacy, Safina demonstrates a determination to reach beyond a scientific or traditional environmental audience to the broader public in the interest of calling attention to a growing crisis in marine resources. Daniel Schrag Professor of Geochemistry Harvard University Age: 34 Residence: Cambridge, Massachusetts Web site: http://www-eps.harvard.edu/people/faculty/DanSchrag.html Schrag, a geochemist, has made seminal contributions to our understanding of ancient climates, past and present climate change, and the relationship between science and policy. He combines an intuition of connections within the global system with skillful quantitative geochemical measurements. Schrag has blazed diverse trails through paleoceanography and oceanography in his work on oxygen isotope chemistry of marine fossils, early global glaciation of the Earth, and physical oceanography. His research underscores the dependence of effective environmental policy on a comprehensive understanding of the physical, chemical, and biological processes that shape our ecosystem. Susan Sygall Executive Director Mobility International USA Age: 47 Residence: Eugene, Oregon Web site: http://www.miusa.org Sygall is an influential advocate for the rights of persons with disabilities. She is the co-founder and executive director of Mobility International USA (MIUSA), an organization with a global reach and a network of exchange programs focused on the rights of individuals, especially women, with disabilities. From her wheelchair, Sygall inspires people to achieve more than they -- and society -- thought possible. She has changed the lives of countless women, often in the poorest and most isolated parts of the world. She strives to encourage budding leaders and policymakers to secure for disabled persons the rights and opportunities that will permit them to contribute more fully to their communities. Gina Turrigiano Assistant Professor, Department of Biology and Center for Complex Systems Brandeis University Age: 37 Residence: Acton, Massachusetts Web site: http://www.bio.brandeis.edu/faculty/turrigiano.html Turrigiano is a neuroscientist who has furthered our understanding of the ways in which brain cells modify their activity in response to changing conditions. Employing an array of research techniques, including cell culture, electrophysiology, and biophysical modeling, she has identified the mechanisms that individual neurons use to maintain their function within an optimal range. These findings open a new approach to understanding normal brain processes, such as learning, and abnormal ones, such as epilepsy. Gary Urton Professor of Anthropology Colgate University Age: 53 Residence: Earlville, New York Urton is an Andean scholar whose studies meld ethnography, ethnohistory, and ethnoscience. He has made important contributions to a wide range of perplexing issues in Incan mythology, Andean astronomy and cosmology, and the Incan system and philosophy of numerical values and relations. His inquiries always concern non-Western knowledge and the beauty and complexity of its organization as manifested through visual form. As such, his work provides new perspectives on human intelligence and illuminates different ways of thinking about and organizing the world. Patricia J. Williams Professor Columbia University Law School Age: 48 Residence: New York, New York Williams is a thoughtful commentator on race and racism in America. An interdisciplinary legal scholar and public intellectual, she approaches issues of law and social justice in novel ways. Her writings weave together elements of popular culture, memoir, political theory, social activism, and traditional analysis of cases, statutes, and the Constitution. Deborah Willis Curator of Exhibitions Center for African-American History and Culture and the Anacostia Museum at the Smithsonian Institution Age: 52 Residence: Washington, D.C. Willis is a historian of photography, a curator, and a photographer. For more than 20 years, she has been a leading scholar in the investigation and recovery of the rich legacy of African-American photography. Her pioneering work ensures that future histories will include African-American photographers. Eric Winfree Assistant Professor of Computer Science and Computation & Neural Systems California Institute of Technology Age: 30 Residence: Pasadena, California Web site: http://www.gg.caltech.edu/~winfree/winfree.html Winfree, a leader in the emerging field of biomolecular computing, is blurring the boundaries between biology and computation. He has incorporated recent advances in computer science, molecular biology, nanotechnology, and mathematics to create a novel approach to molecular computing. Specifically, he has significantly expanded the concept of DNA computing by using naturally occurring molecules and enzymes to build non-naturally shaped DNA structures, which have the potential to perform massively parallel computations. Horng-Tzer Yau Professor of Mathematics Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, New York University Age: 40 Residence: New York, New York Web site: http://www.math.nyu.edu/faculty/yau/papers.html Yau is a mathematician who applies profound mathematical insights and analysis to the explanation of important physical processes. Although the scale of the phenomena he studies varies from microscopic to astronomical, his work concentrates on reinterpreting descriptive models of large-scale physical behavior within the context of statistical mechanics. About the MacArthur Foundation The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, with assets of more than $4 billion, is a private, independent grantmaking institution dedicated to helping groups and individuals foster lasting improvements in the human condition. The Foundation seeks the development of healthy individuals and effective communities; peace within and among nations; responsible choices about human reproduction; and a global ecosystem capable of supporting healthy human societies. The Foundation pursues this mission by supporting research, policy development, dissemination, education and training, and practice.
SOURCE MacArthur Foundation