MacArthur named 24 new MacArthur Fellows for 2009. The new Fellows work across a broad spectrum of endeavors. They include an infectious disease physician, an ornithologist, a painter, a photojournalist, a bridge engineer, a climate scientist, an economist, a papermaker, a mental health lawyer, and a poet. All were selected for their creativity, originality, and potential to make important contributions in the future.
This past week, the recipients learned by a phone call out of the blue from the Foundation that they will each receive $500,000 in “no strings attached” support over the next five years. MacArthur Fellowships come without stipulations and reporting requirements and offer Fellows unprecedented freedom and opportunity to reflect, create, and explore. The unusual level of independence afforded to Fellows underscores the spirit of freedom intrinsic to creative endeavors. The work of MacArthur Fellows knows neither boundaries nor the constraints of age, place, and endeavor.
“For nearly three decades, the MacArthur Fellows Program has highlighted the importance of creativity and risk-taking in addressing pressing needs and challenges around the globe,” said MacArthur President Robert Gallucci. “Through these Fellowships, we celebrate and support exceptional men and women of all ages and in all fields who dream, explore, take risks, invent, and build in new and unexpected ways in the interest of shaping a better future for us all.”
Among the recipients this year are:
“This is a remarkable group of original and creative people, each quintessentially a MacArthur Fellow, and all brimming with promise to improve our world in myriad ways. They are illuminating our evolving planet, saving lives, building solutions to vexing problems, creating new technologies, revealing war’s wake, and illuminating beauty and mystery for us all,” said Daniel J. Socolow, Director of the MacArthur Fellows Program.
The inaugural class of MacArthur Fellows was named in 1981. Including this year’s Fellows, 804 people, ranging in age from 18 to 82 at the time of their selection, have been named MacArthur Fellows since the inception of the program.
The selection process begins with formal nominations. Hundreds of anonymous nominators assist the Foundation in identifying people to be considered for a MacArthur Fellowship. Nominations are accepted only from invited nominators, a list that is constantly renewed throughout the year. They are chosen from many fields and challenged to identify people who demonstrate exceptional creativity and promise. A Selection Committee of roughly a dozen members, who also serve anonymously, meets regularly to review files, narrow the list, and make final recommendations to the Foundation’s Board of Directors. The number of Fellows selected each year is not fixed; typically, it varies between 20 and 25.
Meet the 2009 MacArthur Fellows.
Previous MacArthur Fellows