Meet the 2016 MacArthur Fellows

“While our communities, our nation, and our world face both historic and emerging challenges, these 23 extraordinary individuals give us ample reason for hope. They are breaking new ground in areas of public concern, in the arts, and in the sciences, often in unexpected ways. Their creativity, dedication, and impact inspire us all.”

—MacArthur President Julia Stasch

  • Profile portrait of Ahilan Arulanantham

    Ahilan Arulanantham

    Human Rights Lawyer

    Leading advocacy and legal efforts to secure the right to due process for immigrants facing deportation and working to set new precedents for the constitutional rights of noncitizens.

  • Profile portrait of Daryl Baldwin

    Daryl Baldwin

    Linguist and Cultural Preservationist

    Restoring the linguistic, cultural, and intellectual heritage of the Myaamia (Miami) nation to its present-day descendants through a multipronged approach of research, education, and academic partnerships.

  • Profile portrait of Anne Basting

    Anne Basting

    Theater Artist and Educator

    Revealing the power of storytelling and creative expression to engender sustained emotional connections among elders experiencing cognitive impairment.

  • Profile portrait of Vincent Fecteau

    Vincent Fecteau


    Creating deceptively intricate, abstract pieces that provoke thoughtful reflection and bring viewers to the threshold between visual perception and objective knowledge of three-dimensional space.

  • Profile portrait of Branden Jacobs-Jenkins

    Branden Jacobs-Jenkins


    Using a range of theatrical genres in subversive, often unsettling works that engage frankly with the ways in which race, class, and history are negotiated in both private and public.

  • Profile portrait of Kellie Jones

    Kellie Jones

    Art Historian and Curator

    Introducing the work of critically important, but under-recognized, black artists to the canons of modern and contemporary art through both research and curatorial practice.

  • Profile portrait of Subhash Khot

    Subhash Khot

    Theoretical Computer Scientist

    Tackling unresolved questions in optimization and approximation and contributing to significant advances in the field of computational complexity.

  • Profile portrait of Josh Kun

    Josh Kun

    Cultural Historian

    Exploring the ways in which the arts and popular culture are conduits to cross-cultural exchange and bringing diverse communities in Los Angeles together around heretofore unnoticed cultural commonalities.

  • Profile portrait of Maggie Nelson

    Maggie Nelson


    Rendering pressing issues of our time into portraits of day-to-day experience in works of nonfiction marked by dynamic interplay between personal experience and critical theory.

  • Profile portrait of Dianne Newman

    Dianne Newman


    Merging methods and approaches from disparate fields to investigate the co-evolution of bacteria and their environments, from the ancient Earth to the human body.

  • Profile portrait of Victoria Orphan

    Victoria Orphan


    Shedding new light on the biogeochemical processes underlying the cycling of nutrients and energy that shape the Earth’s climate through studies of microbial communities in extreme environments.

  • Profile portrait of Manu Prakash

    Manu Prakash

    Physical Biologist and Inventor

    Applying principles of soft-condensed matter physics to unravel microscale mysteries of living and nonliving matter and inventing affordable technologies for global education, health, and science explorations.

  • Profile portrait of José A. Quiñonez

    José A. Quiñonez

    Financial Services Innovator

    Developing a model for establishing the creditworthiness of underbanked populations that is affording them a pathway to mainstream financial services and improving their financial stability.

  • Profile portrait of Claudia Rankine

    Claudia Rankine


    Crafting critical texts for understanding American culture at the beginning of the twenty-first century in inventive, ever-evolving forms of poetic expression.

  • Profile portrait of Lauren Redniss

    Lauren Redniss

    Artist and Writer

    Fusing artwork, written text, and design in a unique approach to visual nonfiction that enriches the ways in which stories can be conveyed, experienced, and understood.

  • Profile portrait of Mary Reid Kelley

    Mary Reid Kelley

    Video Artist

    Making arresting, playful, and erudite videos that explore the condition of women throughout history.

  • Profile portrait of Rebecca Richards-Kortum

    Rebecca Richards-Kortum


    Developing point-of-care diagnostic technologies for use in low-resource settings and inspiring the next generation of engineers to translate lessons from the classroom into solutions for global health disparities.

  • Profile portrait of Joyce J. Scott

    Joyce J. Scott

    Jewelry Maker and Sculptor

    Repositioning beadwork into a potent platform for commentary on social and political injustices.

  • Profile portrait of Sarah Stillman

    Sarah Stillman

    Long-Form Journalist

    Bringing to light the stories of people usually invisible to mainstream reporting and providing new and compelling perspectives on even well-covered social justice issues.

  • Profile portrait of Bill Thies

    Bill Thies

    Computer Scientist

    Advancing the socioeconomic well-being of low-income communities in the developing world through innovative communication and digital technologies that respond to real-world constraints.

  • Profile portrait of Julia Wolfe

    Julia Wolfe


    Synthesizing various musical styles in highly physical, large-scale narrative compositions that reimagine folk traditions and lore and address issues of the American worker.

  • Profile portrait of Gene Luen Yang

    Gene Luen Yang

    Graphic Novelist

    Bringing diverse people and cultures to children’s and young adult literature and confirming comics’ place as an important creative and imaginative force within literature, art, and education.

  • Profile portrait of Jin-Quan Yu

    Jin-Quan Yu

    Synthetic Chemist

    Pioneering new methods for the catalysis and functionalization of carbon-hydrogen bonds and enabling the development of versatile, novel, and beneficial chemical compounds.

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