Meet This Year's MacArthur 'Geniuses'

25 grant recipients include artists, mathematicians, and a poet-ornithologist
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 12, 2022 2:14 PM CDT
Meet This Year's MacArthur 'Geniuses'
This 2022 photo provided by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation shows Jenna Jambeck,environmental engineer, in Athens, Ga.   (John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation via AP)

A specialist in plastic waste management, artists, musicians, computer scientists, and a poet-ornithologist who advocates for Black people in nature are among this year’s 25 winners of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s prestigious fellowships. The so-called "genius grants" honor discipline-bending and society-changing people whose work offers inspiration and insight. The Chicago-based foundation announced Wednesday that it increased the "no strings attached" award amount each receive from $625,000 to $800,000 over five years, the AP reports. The 2022 fellows include:

  • Jennifer Carlson, 40, Tucson, Arizona, a sociologist whose research traces the evolution of gun culture in the US.
  • Yejin Choi, 45, Seattle, a computer scientist who developed new ways to train computers to understand language and assess the intent of different kinds of communication.

  • Danna Freedman, 41, Cambridge, Massachusetts, a synthetic inorganic chemist designing molecules that have great storage and processing computing capacity.
  • Sky Hopinka, 38, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, an artist and filmmaker whose abstract and documentary films feature Indigenous languages and perspectives.
  • Moriba Jah, 51, Austin, Texas, an astrodynamicist who uses statistical analysis to study data to better estimate the locations and paths of objects in the earth's orbit.
  • Jenna Jambeck, 48, Athens, Georgia, an environmental engineer whose study of plastics in the environment facilitates the participation of communities in managing their waste
  • Monica Kim, 44, Madison, Wisconsin, a historian of US foreign policy whose archival research in multiple languages and original interviews reveal unstated motivations and policy goals.
  • Priti Krishtel, 44, Oakland, California, a health justice lawyer advocating for reforms of the patent system to make access to treatments more equitable.
  • J. Drew Lanham, 57, Clemson, South Carolina, an ornithologist, naturalist, and writer who advocates for Black people in nature and encourages connection with and exploration of the natural world.

  • Reuben Jonathan Miller, 46, Chicago, a sociologist, criminologist, and social worker who examines the consequences of incarceration, incorporating his personal experiences as a chaplain and relative of imprisoned people.
  • Ikue Mori, 68, New York, an electronic music composer and performer whose work expands the bounds of electronic music making by incorporating live and prerecorded sequences.
  • Steven Ruggles, 67, Minneapolis, a historical demographer who built and maintains the most extensive database of population statistics in the world.
  • Emily Wang, 47, New Haven, Connecticut, a primary care physician and researcher who founded a network of clinics staffed by community health workers and physicians to treat people released from jail.
(View the full list here.)

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