The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has announced its 2013 class of MacArthur Fellows.
Engaged across a broad spectrum of endeavors, the twenty-four fellows will each receive $625,000 — up from $500,000 for last year's winners — over five years. Popularly known as the "genius awards," the fellowships provide fellows with unprecedented freedom and opportunity to reflect, explore, and advance their creative endeavors. As in previous years, the fellows were chosen by a group of anonymous nominators from a range of fields who were asked to identify individuals who have demonstrated exceptional creativity and promise. Since 1981, the foundation has awarded fellowships to 873 individuals ranging in age from 18 to 82.
This year's recipients include Phil Baran, 36, a professor of organic chemistry at the Scripps Research Institute who is recreating pharmacologically interesting compounds in the laboratory through an experimental methodology known as "total synthesis"; Jeremy Denk, 43, a New York City-based pianist and writer who engages listeners and readers in a deeper appreciation of classical music; Robin Fleming, 57, a professor of history at Boston College who draws on archaeological and textual sources to provide fresh insight into the social, economic, and cultural life of Britain in the centuries during and after the fall of the Roman Empire; David Lobell, 34, an agricultural ecologist in the Department of Environmental Earth System Science at Stanford University who is unearthing underutilized sources of data to investigate the impact of climate change on crop production and global food security; Karen Russell, 32, a New York City-based writer whose haunting yet comic tales blend fantastical elements with psychological realism and classic themes of transformation and redemption; and Carrie Mae Weems, 60, photographer and video installation artist who explores the complex and contradictory legacy of African American identity, class, and culture in the United States.
"This year's class of MacArthur Fellows is an extraordinary group of individuals who collectively reflect the breadth and depth of American creativity," said MarArthur Fellows Program vice president Cecilia Conrad. "They are artists, social innovators, scientists, and humanists who are working to improve the human condition and to preserve and sustain our natural and cultural heritage. Their stories should inspire each of us to consider our own potential to contribute our talents for the betterment of humankind."
For a complete list of the 2013 MacArthur Fellows, visit the MacArthur Foundation Web site.