Paid to Be a Genius

How would you like to receive one half million dollars just for being clever?

If you play the saxophone or invent musical instruments, if you write novels or restore old cathedrals, if you propose “insightful interpretations of hieroglyphic inscriptions and figural art” or design stage lighting, you could be eligible.

There’s only one catch: you have to be the best and you have to be noticed by the MacArthur Foundation.

James McPherson-1981 Fellow

James McPherson-1981 Fellow

Today the Foundation named 25 new MacArthur Fellows and will award each one $500,000 during the next five years in appreciation of their talents. Jonathan Fanton, President of the Foundation, explains the purpose of this award:

The MacArthur Fellows Program celebrates extraordinarily creative individuals who inspire new heights in human achievement. With their boldness, courage, and uncommon energy, this new group of Fellows, men and women of all ages in diverse fields, exemplifies the boundless nature of the human mind and spirit.

For the Foundation’s press release and the complete list of newly minted Fellows, click here. You might want to congratulate these individuals with a personal email message.

Meanwhile, I’d like to hear from you in response to two questions:

  1. Are you personally acquainted with anyone who would be a good candidate for this kind of award?
  2. If you could nominate three individuals to be considered by the MacArthur Foundation, who would they be?
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About Doug Geivett
University Professor; PhD in philosophy; author; conference speaker. Hobbies include motorcycling, travel, kayaking, sailing.

2 Responses to Paid to Be a Genius

  1. David says:

    I wish I knew someone who qualified, but if I could nominate three individuals, hmm…

    1. Francis Collins (human genome project)
    2. Joseph Jacobson (MIT, co-inventor of electronic ink)
    3. Tom Jenkinson, aka “Squarepusher” (composer, intelligent dance music)

    Like

  2. lucidlunatic says:

    The answer to 1 is no, not currently. This is at least in part because I disagree with the principle of the award. Sure, they’re brilliant. Therefore they are likely to be successful anyhow- why give them the money? Now, I could easily see a similar award being given to those in need of capital- for further education, to start a company, or fund research. On the other hand, I’m against money for money’s sake as a rule.

    Like

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