25 MacArthur Fellowships Announced by MacArthur Foundation

One Call -- Five Years of Opportunity -- No Strings Attached

Jun 13, 2000, 01:00 ET from MacArthur Foundation

    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
     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
      Lucy Blake
      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
      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
      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
      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:
     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
      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
      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