09/21/2012 02:14 pm ET Updated Oct 01, 2012

MacArthur Foundation Will Announce Winners Of The $500,000 MacArthur Fellowships October 2nd (PHOTOS)

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.

2011 MacArthur Fellows