CHICAGO -- The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation today named 23 recipients of this year's MacArthur Fellowships. Each will receive $500,000 over five years of "no strings attached" support.
"The announcement of the MacArthur Fellows offers an opportunity to focus on the importance of the creative individual in society," said Jonathan Fanton, president of the MacArthur Foundation. "Whether working alone or within an organization, these are people who provide the imagination and fresh ideas that can improve people's lives and bring about movement on important issues."
"Most of the MacArthur Foundation's funding is intended to support the creative efforts of organizations and institutions," Fanton added, "yet we also understand that individual leadership, initiative, and creativity can provide the spark that moves great enterprise forward."
Among the new Fellows are:
Christopher Chyba is an astrobiologist and policy analyst with a passion for understanding the origins of life on earth and for protecting the human civilization that now exists against self-destruction. His scientific efforts focus on reconstructing the conditions that spawned terrestrial life and exploring other objects in the solar system for important similarities and differences. Chyba’s research draws from many of the physical and biological sciences and the expertise he has developed in each finds direct public policy applications. The depth and breadth of his experience allow him to speak with equal authority on topics ranging from lunar geology to biological terrorism, and his dedication to communicating research to a general audience allows us to share his enthusiasm for the wonders of life on Earth and the importance of its preservation.More details about this Fellow are available.
Norman Pace, a biochemist who explores the interrelationship of biochemical and evolutionary processes, has revolutionized our conception of the range and diversity of microbial life. Early in his career, he participated in key experiments demonstrating the capacity of genetic material to catalyze biochemical reactions. Subsequently, he pioneered the use of molecular genetic techniques to identify microbe species. Pace's research continues to identify the biochemical and genetic threads that link all organisms and to enrich our awareness of the seemingly boundless, sometimes quite improbable, ecological niches that living things occupy on Earth.More details about this Fellow are available.
David Spergel is an astrophysicist whose penetrating analytic skills help to paint a more comprehensive picture of the origins, structure, and future evolution of the universe. His research tackles the most challenging questions in astrophysics, ranging from the interpretation of solar neutrino flux, to the role of dark matter in the creation of the Milky Way, to the early history of galactic formations and gravitational deformations, to the very shape of the universe. He takes risks with his ideas and has already left a marked impression in several areas of astrophysics.More details about this Fellow are available.