The grants, for five years and with conditions, are designed to give the recipients the opportunity to pursue creativity in their chosen fields.
Daniel Socolow, the program's director, called "this new group of fellows" a "strong collection of extraordinarily creative individuals, exceptional minds in motion."
"We hope the fellowships will provide new freedom and opportunity over an extended period of time in support of these fellows' demonstrated potential for still greater achievement," Socolow said. "They join a group, now over 600 strong, of original and creative people of all ages and groups across a wide array of human endeavors linked together by their individual commitments to discovering and advancing knowledge and to improving society."
Fellows are nominated secretly by an ever-changing list of nominators who serve anonymously. Recipients are notified of the grants through a phone call from the foundation.
This year's recipients include:
-- Danielle Allen, 29, an associate professor in the Department of Classical Languages and Literatures, and Department of Politics, and Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago. Allen has demonstrated the legal foundations of punishment in ancient Athens were deeply rooted in classical attitudes towards anger and revenge.
-- Andrea Barrett, 46, a novelist and part-time instructor in the MFA Program for Writers at
Warren Wilson College in Swannanoa, N.C., and Rochester, N.Y. Her books have explored a wide variety of tones and venues, and combine biography, science, historiography and storytelling.
-- Christopher Chyba, 41, a scientist/science policy specialist who holds the Carl Sagan Chair at the SETI Institute, and is co-director for the Center for International Security and Cooperation and an associate professor (research) of Geological & Environmental Sciences at Stanford University. His scientific efforts focus on reconstructing the conditions that spawned terrestrial life and exploring other objects in the solar system for important similarities and differences. Chyba's research draws from many of the physical and biological sciences and the expertise he has developed in each finds direct public policy applications.
-- Michael Dickinson, 38, an insect physiologist and professor of integrative biology at the University of California, Berkeley. Dickinson's investigations integrate a wide variety of scientific disciplines -- muscle physiology, comparative anatomy, aerodynamics, biomechanics, neuroscience and behavior -- in an effort to produce a comprehensive understanding of this particularly complex animal activity.
-- Rosanne Haggerty, 41, the founder and executive director of Common Ground in New York. Haggerty is a real estate entrepreneur who conceived and founded the not-for-profit housing development and management organization to provide innovative housing opportunities for homeless adults. Her flagship restoration projects are not only important historical restorations, but also bold experiments in financing, developing and managing residences.
-- Lene Hau, 41, an optical physicist and professor of physics at Harvard University. Building on recent advances in atomic and condensed matter physics, she has shown how it is possible under precise experimental control to extend tremendously the time it takes for photons to pass through certain materials. Her latest experiments demonstrate that it is possible to stop light completely and then release it later.
-- Dave Hickey, 62, a professor of art theory and criticism at the University of Nevada. Hickey, an art critic and analyst of Western culture, reveals original perspectives on contemporary art in essays.
-- Stephen Hough, 39, a concert pianist in New York and London. He seeks out works from less-well-known composers of the past as well as challenging new compositions that expand our concept of the evocative potential of the piano.
-- Kay Redfield Jamison, 55, a professor of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Jamison is a leading expert on serious mood disorders. Her writing, teaching and clinical research on depression have had a broad impact on mental health treatment, on patient support and advocacy, and on public awareness of psychiatric disorders.
-- Sandra Lanham, 53, a conservationist and founder of Environmental Flying Services of Tucson, Ariz. As founder of the non-profit Environmental Flying Services, Lanham fosters cross-border scientific collaborations in the interest of protecting sensitive habitats in North America.
-- Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle, 40, an associate professor at the College of Architecture and the Arts at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Manglano-Ovalle is an artist who uses photography, video, sound and sculpture to create works that illuminate our notions of personal identity and community.
-- Cynthia Moss, 62, a naturalist and director of Amboseli Elephant Research Project at Amboseli National Park in Kenya. Moss, a former journalist who has spent more than three decades studying the ecology and social behavior of an entire population of some 1,000 wild African elephants, has provided key insights into the evolution of elephant behavior and the complex ways in which the animals respond to changes in their environment.
-- Dirk Obbink, 44, a lecturer in papyrology and Greek literature at the University of Oxford. He is an expert in the art and craft of rescuing a damaged text from the ravages of time and in interpreting the words of the ancient author for modern readers. His work, primarily with literary fragments, requires extraordinary diligence, intimate knowledge of several different dialects of classical languages, and the ability to decipher cursive abbreviations scrawled in margins.
-- Norman Pace, 59, a molecular biologist at the University of Colorado in Boulder. Pace, a biochemist who explores the interrelationship of biochemical and evolutionary processes, has revolutionized our conception of the range and diversity of microbial life.
-- Suzan-Lori Parks, 38, a playwright and director of A.S.K. Theater Projects Writing for Performance Program at the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia. Parks challenges notions of the historical construction and context of the African-American experience.
-- Brooks Pate, 36, a professor of chemistry at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. Pate is a physical chemist who probes molecules spectroscopically to tease out their basic reactive properties.
-- Xiao Qiang, 39, executive director of Human Rights in China of New York. Qiang, a self-exile, promotes the cause of human rights in China in the West and within China itself.
-- Geraldine Seydoux, 37, an assistant professor of molecular biology and genetics at John Hopkins University School of Medicine. Seydoux's work reveals important elements of the molecular machinery of biological development.
-- Bright Sheng, 45, a composer and professor of music at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Sheng's work merges diverse musical customs in works that transcend conventional aesthetic boundaries.
-- David Spergel, 40, a professor of astrophysical sciences at Princeton University. Spergel has helped paint a more comprehensive picture of the origins, structure and future evolution of the universe.
-- Jean Strouse, 46, a biographer in New York. She is best known for her expansive accounts of the lives of Alice James and J.P. Morgan.
-- Julie Su, 32, a public interest lawyer and litigation director at Asian Pacific American Legal Center in Los Angeles. She has broken new ground with litigation strategies for protecting undocumented immigrant garment workers, a largely invisible population found not only in large cities but also in suburban areas.
-- David Wilson, 55, the founder of the Museum of Jurassic Technology in Culver City, Calif. Through his collection of biological, archaeological, and cultural curiosities, displayed as "exhibits" in a network of little rooms, Wilson blurs the distinctions among museum, mausoleum and library to challenge our acquiescence to the traditional means of presenting and preserving knowledge.
Notable deaths of 2014 [PHOTOS]