From a 44-year-old microbiologist to a 32-year-old long-form journalist to a 67-year-old jewelry maker, the 2016 class of MacArthur Fellows is a diverse selection of the sharpest minds in America today.
The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation announced the recipients of its annual MacArthur Fellowship ― commonly referred to as the “Genius Grant” ― early Thursday morning. Dianne Newman, Sarah Stillman and Joyce J. Scott are just three of those recipients, earning themselves a $625,000 stipend and a spot in the history books next to previous fellows like writer Susan Sontag, astrophysicist Joseph Taylor, and artist Carrie Mae Weems.
The MacArthur Fellowship dates back to 1981, created to acknowledge and celebrate high-achieving individuals in disciplines as diverse as sculpture, chemistry, human rights law and engineering. What was once a $50,000 award has since grown into a six-figure prize, awarded to American citizens and residents with a “no strings attached” policy to enable them to pursue new creative work.
This year, the fellows include 12 women and 11 men, ranging in age from the 31 to 67. Together, the group of artists, scientists, writers, lawyers, engineers and activists are nothing short of inspirational. See the entire list of new “geniuses” below.