#MacArthur Foundation 25 Newest Fellows 2021: #Scientists, #Filmmakers, #Artists, #Dancers, #Musicians, #Writers, #Activists and #Historians

#MacArthur Foundation 25 Newest Fellows 2021: #Scientists, #Filmmakers, #Artists, #Dancers, #Musicians, #Writers, #Activists and #Historians

“The MacArthur Fellowship is a $625,000, no-strings-attached award to extraordinarily talented and creative individuals as an investment in their potential….Recipients may be writers, scientists, artists, social scientists, humanists, teachers, entrepreneurs, or those in other fields, with or without institutional affiliations. They may use their fellowship to advance their expertise, engage in bold new work, or, if they wish, to change fields or alter the direction of their careers.”

There are three criteria for selection of Fellows:

  1. Exceptional creativity
  2. Promise for important future advances based on a track record of significant accomplishments
  3. Potential for the Fellowship to facilitate subsequent creative work.

Meet the newest crop of very fortunate creative sorts, this year’s MacArthur Fellows, who will each receive $125,000/year for 5 years to do WHATEVER THEY WANT!

MacArthur Fellows 2021

For bios, specific info on each Fellow, and more about the Program and the Foundation, check out their website: https://www.macfound.org/programs/fellows/

Imagine: There are no outside or public applications or nominations. The process for selection is so secretive and unknown that very few people (no one outside the Foundation, supposedly) even knows who the nominating and selection committees’ members ARE each year!

“Although nominees are reviewed for their achievements, the fellowship is not a lifetime achievement award, but rather an investment in a person’s originality, insight, and potential. Indeed, the purpose of the MacArthur Fellows Program is to enable recipients to exercise their own creative instincts for the benefit of human society.

“The Foundation does not require or expect specific products or reports from MacArthur Fellows and does not evaluate recipients’ creativity during the term of the fellowship. The MacArthur Fellowship is a “no strings attached” award in support of people, not projects. Each fellowship comes with a stipend of $625,000 to the recipient, paid out in equal quarterly installments over five years.”

In the Foundation’s favor, this year—for the fourth time since I’ve been tracking it, which is many years—the female-appearing Fellows are about equal in number to the male-appearing Fellows: 13 seeming males, 11 seeming female and 1 nonbinary fellow. The Fellows process has been great on “diversity” and varying geographic locations for quite a while. This year, only about 3 appear to be Caucasian. You can check out the stats on their site any time.

Again, LOVE this!

I am unfamiliar with all of them for the first time, so my “most interested in getting to know” recipients this year are:

Marcella Alsan, Physician-Economist

Award is for “Investigating the role that legacies of discrimination and resulting mistrust play in perpetuating racial disparities in health….Her most influential work to date provides empirical evidence for the widely held hypothesis that mistrust of medical institutions contributes to poor health indicators experienced by Black men in the United States.”

She “holds a BA (1999) from Harvard University, an MPH (2005) from the Harvard School of Public Health, an MD (2005) from Loyola University, and a PhD in economics (2012) from Harvard University. Alsan served as an associate professor of medicine and, by courtesy, of economics and health research and policy at Stanford University prior to joining the faculty of the Harvard Kennedy School as a professor of public policy in 2019. Her work has been published in the American Economic Review, Quarterly Journal of Economics, Journal of Political Economy, The Lancet Infectious Diseases, and Annals of Internal Medicine, among other journals.”

Ibrahim Cissé, Biological Physicist

Award for: “Developing microscopy tools to investigate the subcellular processes underlying genetic regulation and misfunction….[He] continues to push the limits of quantitative microscopy (a microscopic study that uses algorithmic analysis of digital images) … He is also advancing imaging methods to investigate the early stages of misfolded protein clustering, which may be critical to understanding neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s. His work revealed that the initial formation of misfolded protein clusters is akin to phase transitions that lead to condensates. Through his cutting-edge innovations in single-molecule microscopy and in-depth understanding of biophysical and cellular processes, Cissé is illuminating the dynamics of gene regulation and enabling further investigation of biological condensates.”

He “received a BS (2004) from North Carolina Central University and a PhD (2009) from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He served as a postdoctoral fellow at École Normale Supérieure de Paris from 2010 to 2012. Cissé was an assistant professor of physics and biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology beginning in 2014, and he was tenured in 2020. He was a professor of physics at the California Institute of Technology in 2021 prior to taking up his current position as director of the Department of Biological Physics at the Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics in Freiburg, Germany. Cissé’s work has appeared in NatureScienceCell, and PNAS, among other scientific journals.”

Also glad to see so many more recipients NOT from either the West or East Coast of the USA.

You can view ALL recipients of this Genius Grant (all Fellows): https://www.macfound.org/fellows/search/all