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Tuesday, October 2, 2012

MacArthur Foundation announces genius award winners

Genius: Dinaw Mengestu, Writer

The MacArthur Foundation has named 23 new Fellows who include a pediatric neurosurgeon, a marine ecologist, a journalist, a photographer, an optical physicist and astronomer, a stringed-instrument bow maker, a geochemist, a fiction writer, and an arts entrepreneur.

Dinaw Mengestru, a writer based in Washington, D.C. originally from Ethiopia, and Dylan Penningroth, a historian working at Northwestern University, are the two African Americans receiving the awards.

All Fellows were selected for their creativity, originality, and potential to make important contributions in the future and will each receive $500,000 in no-strings-attached support over the next five years.

Penningroth: research on slaves
“These extraordinary individuals demonstrate the power of creativity,” said MacArthur 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.”

Including this year’s Fellows, 873 people, ranging in age from 18 to 82 at the time of their selection, have been named MacArthur Fellows since the inaugural class in 1981.

Biographical information on the geniuses are online at

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