Chicago, IL- The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation today named 24 new MacArthur Fellows. Each will receive $500,000 in "no strings attached" support over the next five years.
"As the MacArthur Foundation approaches its twenty-fifth year, the announcement of the new class of MacArthur Fellows serves as a reminder of the importance of the creative individual in American society," said Jonathan F. Fanton, President of the MacArthur Foundation. "In all our programs, we are committed to nurturing those who are a source of new knowledge and ideas, have the courage to challenge inherited orthodoxies and to take intellectual, scientific, and cultural risks. For over two decades, the MacArthur Fellows Program has been a vital part of the Foundations efforts to recognize and support individuals who lift our spirits, illuminate human potential, and shape our collective future."
The Programs design imposes no constraints on the kinds of creativity that are recognized. Recipients this year, for example, include:
- A seismologist applying structural engineering principles to public buildings in some of the worlds poorest, most earthquake-prone regions (Tucker)
- A trombonist expanding the possibilities of improvisation (Lewis)
- A journalist chronicling tales of those left behind or left out (Boo)
- An artist working in three dimensions with glass beads (Lou)
- A molecular ecobiologist studying bacterial communication (Bassler)
- A novelist expanding the possibilities of literature for children and young adults (Hesse)
- A roboticist designing self-reconfigurable robots (Rus)
- A paleoethnobotonist analyzing fossilized plant remains to shed new light on prehistoric populations (Newsom)
- A historian tracing the influence of technological advances on the evolution of ideas during the Renaissance (Blair)
Daniel J. Socolow, Director of the MacArthur Fellows Program, noted that, "The annual announcement of MacArthur Fellows provides a fresh opportunity to reflect on the nature and spectrum of creative activity around us. The 24 new Fellows for 2002 are men and women of many ages, working in many different areas, each of whom is highly focused and tenacious and distinctively fresh and original in approach. They are extraordinary people doing extraordinary things.
Including this years Fellows, 635 people, ranging in age from 18 to 82, have been named MacArthur Fellow since the inception of the program in 1981. No one may apply for the Fellowship, nor is there an interview process. To be considered, a person must be nominated by one of several hundred nominators appointed each year. Nominators, who serve anonymously, are chosen across many fields and challenged to identify people who demonstrate exceptional creativity and promise. A 12-member selection committee, whose members also serve anonymously, meets regularly throughout the year to review nominee files, to narrow the list, and to make final recommendations to the Foundations Board of Directors. Typically, between 20 and 30 Fellows are selected each year.
MacArthur Fellows are first notified in a telephone call from the Foundation. In most cases, the recipient will have no idea that he or she has been under consideration for the Fellowship.
An important element of the Program is confidence that recipients are in the best position to decide how to make the most effective use of their award. The Foundation neither requires nor expects specific projects from individual Fellows, nor does it ask for reports on how the money is used.