Today, 23 individuals were named the 2010 MacArthur Foundation Fellows, and learned that they will each receive $500,000 over the next five years -- with no strings attached.
The Foundation annually identifies individuals who exhibit excellence in three areas: exceptional creativity, promise for important future advances based on a track record of significant accomplishment, and potential for the fellowship to facilitate subsequent creative work. The prize money functions as an investment on the part of the foundation in the recipients' creative future.
Of those selected this year, more than half hold academic posts. Below, check out the 14 academics given the prestigious prize.