The Chicago-based John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has announced the names of its MacArthur Fellows for 2012.
Working across a broad spectrum of endeavors, the twenty-three fellows will each receive $500,000 over five years with no strings attached to reflect, create, and explore. Since 1981, MacArthur fellowships have been awarded to 873 people ranging in age from 18 to 82. Often referred to as the "genius awards," the fellowships provide fellows with unprecedented freedom and opportunity to 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.
This year's recipients include Benjamin Warf, a pediatric neurosurgeon who is revolutionizing treatment of hydrocephalus and other intra-cranial diseases in very young children and advancing standards of and access to health care in both the developed and poorest regions of the world; Claire Chase, an arts entrepreneur who has forged a new model for the commissioning, recording, and live performance of contemporary music; David Finkel, a journalist who pushes beyond the constraints and conventions of traditional news writing to craft sustained narratives that heighten the reality of military service and sacrifice for his readers; Nancy Rabalais, a marine ecologist who documents the environmental and economic consequences of hypoxic zones in the Gulf of Mexico; and Junot D�az, a fiction writer who uses vernacular dialogue and spare, unsentimental prose to draw readers into the various and distinct worlds that immigrants must straddle.
"These extraordinary individuals demonstrate the power of creativity," said MacArthur Foundation president Robert Gallucci. "The MacArthur Fellowship is not only a recognition of their impressive past accomplishments but also, more importantly, an investment in their potential for the future. We believe in their creative instincts and hope the freedom the fellowship provides will enable them to pursue unfettered their insights and ideas for the benefit of the world."
For a complete list of 2012 MacArthur Fellows, visit the MacArthur Foundation Web site.