The Chicago-based MacArthur Fellows Program selects recipients on a fully confidential basis -- no applications are accepted and no interviews are conducted. The awards are meant to bolster the impact of creative individuals on society; new fellows selected for their originality and potential for future productivity receive unexpected phone calls informing them of their awards during the week before the announcement is made public.
"The call can be life-changing, coming as it does out of the blue and offering highly creative women and men the gift of time and the unfettered opportunity to explore, create, and contribute," said MacArthur Foundation President Jonathan F. Fanton.
This year's recipients include:
- Naomi Leonard, a marine roboticist building miniature, autonomous underwater vehicles that mimic schooling fish.
- James Carpenter, a glass technologist fusing art and engineering to illuminate the possibilities of light in architecture of great beauty.
- John Kamm, a businessman demonstrating the efficacy of leveraging business relationships to free prisoners of conscience in China.