Locals Earn "Genius Grants" - NBC 10 Philadelphia

Locals Earn "Genius Grants"

2013 MacArthur 'genius grant winners unveiled



    Locals Earn "Genius Grants"
    Courtesy of the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
    (L to R) John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation "Genius Grant" winners Agnela Duckworth, Jeffrey Brenner and Julie Livingston.

    An eclectic group of scientists, historians, writers, musicians and others have won of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation “genius grants,” including three people with local ties.

    The foundation announced Wednesday that the 24 people will each receive $625,000 to spend any way they want.

    The group recognized University of Pennsylvania research psychologist Angela Duckworth, 43, for helping to transform understanding of just what roles self-control and grit play in educational achievement.

    Physician Jeffrey Brenner, 44, of Camden, N.J. was recognized for founding a health care delivery model that finds, tracks and serves the city's poorest and sickest residents.

    Rutgers University medical historian Julie Livingston, 46, New Brunswick, N.J. earned a grant for her interest in the care of chronically ill patients in Botswana. She exposed the unlikelihood that technology will fix health issues in Africa or the rest of the world.

    “I am thrilled and honored, and totally surprised to be recognized in this way by the MacArthur Foundation,” Livingston said.

    And, Philly native Colin Camerer, 53, who now resides Pasadena, Calif. is a behavioral economist at the California Institute of Technology whose pioneering research has challenged assumptions in traditional economic models.


    The recipients are chosen for their creativity and innovations in fields ranging from music to physics, medicine to photography.

    This year's group brings the number of grant recipients to 900 since the program started in 1981.

    This year's prize will be given out in five installments and is the largest ever -- $125,000 more than 2012.

    Here’s a list of the rest of the winners:

    • Kyle Abraham, 36, New York City. Choreographer and dancer who explores the confluence of personal history and identity.
    • Donald Antrim, 55, New York City. Teaches writing at Columbia University and is being recognized for his fiction and nonfiction.
    • Phil Baran, 36, La Jolla, Calif. Organic chemist at Scripps Research Institute who invents ways to recreate natural products with potential pharmaceutical uses.
    • C. Kevin Boyce, 39, Stanford, Calif. Paleobotanist at Stanford University who looks at links between ancient plants and today's ecosystems.
    • Jeremy Denk, 43, New York City. Writer and concert pianist who combines his skills to help readers and listeners to better appreciate classical music.
    • Craig Fennie, 40, Ithaca, N.Y. Materials scientist at Cornell University has designed new materials with electrical, optical and magnetic properties needed for electronics and communication technology.
    • Robin Fleming, 57, Chestnut Hill, Mass. A medieval historian at Boston College who's written extensively on the lives of common people in Britain in the years after the fall of the Roman Empire.
    • Carl Haber, 54, Berkeley, Calif. Taking insights from his work on imaging subatomic particle tracks, the experimental physicist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory developed new technologies to preserve rare, damaged and old sound recordings.
    • Vijay Iyer, 41, New York City. Jazz pianist, composer and bandleader and writer reconceptualizing the genre through compositions for his ensembles, as well as cross-disciplinary collaborations and scholarly writing.
    • Dina Katabi, 42, Cambridge, Mass. A computer scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who has worked at interfacing computer science and electrical engineering to improve the speed and security of data exchange.
    • David Lobell, 34, Stanford, Calif. Agricultural ecologist at Stanford University who has investigated the impact of climate change on crop production and food security around the world.
    • Tarell McCraney, 32, Chicago. Playwright at Steppenwolf Theater Company who examines the diversity of African-American experiences.
    • Susan Murphy, 55, Ann Arbor, Mich. A statistician at the University of Michigan, she has translated statistical theory into tools that can be used to evaluate and customize treatment regimens for people with chronic or relapsing disorders.
    • Sheila Nirenberg, New York City. Neuroscientist at Weill Cornell Medical College exploring the nervous system and creating new prosthetic devices and robots.
    • Alexei Ratmansky, 45, New York City. Choreographer and artist-in-residence at the American Ballet Theatre revitalizing classical ballet with interpretations of traditional works and original pieces.
    • Ana Maria Rey, 36, Boulder, Colo. Theoretical physicist at the University of Colorado working on how to control states of matter through conceptual research on ultra-cold atoms.
    • Karen Russell, 32, New York City. A fiction writer and author of the novel “Swamplandia!” whose work blends fantastical elements with psychological realism.
    • Sara Seager, 42, Cambridge, Mass. Astrophysicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology creating a theoretical framework for determining the characteristics of planets outside our solar system.
    • Margaret Stock, 51, Anchorage, Alaska. Immigration attorney who founded a program that pairs volunteer attorneys around the country with military families in need of legal assistance with the deportation of loved ones and other immigration issues.
    • Carrie Mae Weems, 60, Syracuse, N.Y. Photographer and video artist who examines African-American identity, class and culture in the United States.


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