Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Simply: Imgagine YOURSELF here!

In Focus Image

In Focus

Nurturing Creativity: 2007 MacArthur Fellows

They include a biomedical scientist, a blues musician, a forensic anthropologist, an inventor, a medieval historian, and a spider silk biologist. All were selected for their creativity, originality, and potential to make important contributions in the future. Each received a phone call from the Foundation with news of $500,000 in “no strings attached” support over the next five years.

“The MacArthur Foundation supports highly creative individuals and institutions with the ability and the promise to make a difference in shaping and improving our future,” said MacArthur President Jonathan Fanton. “These new MacArthur Fellows, extraordinary men and women of all ages and in many fields, honor and inspire us with their talent, their courage, and their deep commitment. With the gift of time and unfettered opportunity to create and explore, we are confident that the Fellows will follow their hearts and their minds wherever they lead, making new discoveries and making a difference in the world.”

Recipients this year include –

  • Mercedes Doretti, a forensic anthropologist unearthing evidence of crimes against humanity and of immense human losses omitted from the historical record;
  • Cheryl Hayachi, a spider silk biologist revealing the architecture, properties, and function of spider silks and the possibilities of developing new synthetic materials;
  • Stuart Dybek, a short story writer borrowing from the Old World yet emerging from the New World to feed the imaginations of contemporary Americans;
  • Saul Griffith, an inventor engineering innovations spanning optics, high-performance textiles, and nanotechnology to benefit the world;
  • Mark Roth, a biomedical scientist experimenting with new clinical procedures for temporary reduction of metabolism to provide much needed time for surgeons;
  • Dawn Upshaw, a master vocalist stretching the boundaries of operatic and concert singing and shaping and redefining the landscape of contemporary music;
  • Jonathan Shay, a clinical psychiatrist/classicist drawing parallels between ancient texts and modern accounts of battle to treat combat trauma;
  • Paul Rothemund, a nanotechnologist folding DNA to create complex shapes and patterns that provide a platform for building nanodevices of the future;
  • Lisa Cooper, a public health physician improving medical outcomes by analyzing and developing new approaches to patient-physician communications; and
  • Shen Wei, a choreographer drawing from Western dance traditions and Chinese opera, acrobatics, and martial arts to create bold and visually arresting dance-theater.
The Fellows 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 12-member Selection Committee, whose members also serve anonymously, meets regularly to review files, narrow the list, and make final recommendations to the Foundation’s Board of Directors. Including this year’s group, 756 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 in 1981. Meet the 2007 MacArthur Fellows.

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