The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation is set to announce its 2012 Fellows next month. The lucky recipients of the $500,000 grants will be notified in the typical MacArthur way -- a phone call days before the announcement. The potential fellows, who work in a variety of fields spanning the realms of science, literature, art and entrepreneurship, don't even know they're up for the award until they receive their mysterious phone call. They will learn of their nomination only a few days before we do -- which will be Tuesday, October 2nd, to be exact.

The MacArthur Fellowship is an annual grant program which recognizes any number of talented individuals who have shown exceptional creativity and a marked capacity for future advances in their field. As the MacArthur website states, "Although nominees are reviewed for their achievements, the fellowship is not a reward for past accomplishment, but rather an investment in a person's originality, insight, and potential." The grants are bestowed without conditions, so recipients are free to use their $500,000 as they see fit.

Among last year's 22 winners were architect Jeanne Gang, choral conductor and composer Francisco Nunez, poet Kay Ryan, economist Roland Fryer, virologist Elodie Ghedin and public historian Tiya Miles. See slideshow of some of the 2011 winners below.

To get a firsthand peek at this year's winners, including videos and photographs of all 2012 Fellows, go to the Foundation’s website at 12:01 a.m. EDT on Tuesday, October 2.

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  • Jad Abumrad

    In this Sept. 14, 2011 photo provided Sept. 19, 2011 by the Chicago-based John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Jad Abumrad, 38, a radio co-host and producer of the nationally syndicated WNYC program "Radiolab," poses for a photo in New York. Abumrad is one of 22 recipients of this year's MacArthur Foundation "genius grants." (AP Photo/John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Jason Andrew)

  • Ubaldo Vitali

    In this Sept. 18, 2011 photo provided Sept. 19, 2011 by the Chicago-based John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Ubaldo Vitali, 67, a fourth-generation silversmith, conservator and scholar who restores silver masterworks and creates original art, is photographed in New York. Vitali is one of 22 recipients of this year's MacArthur Foundation "genius grants." (AP Photo/John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Christopher Lane)

  • Marie-Therese Connolly

    In this Sept. 12, 2011 photo provided Sept. 19, 2011 by the Chicago-based John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Marie-Therese Connolly, 54, a lawyer who works to combat physical and psychological elder abuse and mistreatment and elder financial exploitation, poses at her home in Washington. Connolly is one of 22 recipients of this year's MacArthur Foundation "genius grants." (AP Photo/John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Eli Meir Kaplan)

  • Roland Fryer

    In this Sept. 17, 2011 photo provided Sept. 19, 2011 by the Chicago-based John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Roland Fryer, 34, a Harvard University economics professor who studies causes and consequences of economic disparity due to race and inequality, poses on campus in Cambridge, Mass. Fryer is one of 22 recipients of this year's MacArthur Foundation "genius grants." (AP Photo/John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Jodi Hilton )

  • Jeanne Gang

    In this Sept. 14, 2011 photo provided Sept. 19, 2011 by the Chicago-based John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Jeanne Gang,47, an architect focusing on the geographic, social and environmental factors of residential, educational and commercial buildings, is seen at her studio in Chicago. Gang is one of 22 recipients of this year's MacArthur Foundation "genius grants." (AP Photo/John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Jean-Marc Giboux) MANDATORY CREDIT

  • Elodie Ghedin

    In this Sept. 13, 2011 photo provided Sept. 19, 2011 by the Chicago-based John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Elodie Ghedin, 44, a parasitologist and assistant professor at University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine who studies genetic sequencing techniques, poses for a photo in Pittsburgh. Ghedin is one of 22 recipients of this year's MacArthur Foundation "genius grants." (AP Photo/John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Jeff Swensen)

  • Alisa Weilerstein

    In this Sept. 18, 2011 photo provided Sept. 19, 2011 by the Chicago-based John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Alisa Weilerstein, 29, a cellist who performs traditional and contemporary music, poses for a photo in New York. Weilerstein is one of 22 recipients of this year's MacArthur Foundation "genius grants." (AP Photo/John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Matt Carr)

  • Markus Greiner

    In this Sept. 17, 2011 photo provided Sept. 19, 2011 by the Chicago-based John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Markus Greiner, 38, a Harvard University associate professor of physics and condensed matter physicist, poses for a photo in Cambridge, Mass. Greiner is one of 22 recipients of this year's MacArthur Foundation "genius grants." (AP Photo/John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Tsar Fedorsky)

  • Tiya Miles

    In this Sept. 12, 2011 photo provided Sept. 19, 2011 by the Chicago-based John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Tiya Miles, 41, a University of Michigan history professor who studies relationships between African and Cherokee people living and working in colonial America, is seen in her office on campus in Ann Arbor, Mich. Miles is one of 22 recipients of this year's MacArthur Foundation "genius grants." (AP Photo/John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Jeffrey Sauger)

  • Francisco Nunez

    In this Sept. 18, 2011 photo provided Sept. 19, 2011 by the Chicago-based John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Francisco Nunez, 46, the choral conductor, composer and founder and artistic director of the Young People's Chorus of New York City, is seen in New York. Nunez is one of 22 recipients of this year's MacArthur Foundation "genius grants." (AP Photo/John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Christopher Lane)

  • Dafnis Prieto

    In this Sept. 14, 2011 photo provided Sept. 19, 2011 by the Chicago-based John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Dafnis Prieto, 37, a jazz percussionist and composer with classical training and Afro-Cuban musical heritage, is photographed in New York. Prieto is one of 22 recipients of this year's MacArthur Foundation "genius grants." (AP Photo/John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Thos Robinson)

  • Kay Ryan

    In this Sept. 14, 2011 photo provided Sept. 19, 2011 by the Chicago-based John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Kay Ryan, 65, former poet laureate of the United States and author of eight volumes of poetry, poses at her home in Fairfax, Calif. Ryan is one of 22 recipients of this year's MacArthur Foundation "genius grants." (AP Photo/John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Martin Klimek)

  • A.E. Stallings

    In this Sept. 8, 2011 photo provided Sept. 19, 2011 by the Chicago-based John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, A.E. Stallings, 43, a poet, translator and director of the poetry program at the Athens Centre, poses for a photo in Athens, Greece. Stallings is one of 22 recipients of this year's MacArthur Foundation "genius grants." (AP Photo/John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Milos Bicanski)

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