Jews Win Big at Genius Awards

Published: September 28th 2010
in News » World

David Simon: Just the latest Jewish genius.
Pic: youtube

On Tuesday, the Chicago-based MacArthur Foundation released its yearly list of 23 “geniuses” from among the worlds of art, science, academia and music who will receive a five-year grant.


The 2010 MacArthur fellowship is awarded to individuals who display exceptional creativity in their respective fields. The program is set up to allow recipients to “pursue their creative activities in the absence of specific obligations or reporting requirements.”


The stipend is set at $500,000 and is paid out in quarterly allotments with no strings attached.


This year’s geniuses include a stone carver, a quantum astrophysicist, a jazz pianist, a high school physics teacher, a computer security specialist and a fiction writer.


Several Jews are among the geniuses.


David Simon is a 50-year old former Baltimore Sun crime reporter who is best known as the creator, writer and producer of The Wire, a critically acclaimed HBO drama that ran for five seasons.


"With the nuance and scope of novels, Simon's recent series have explored the constraints that poverty, corruption and broken social systems place on the lives of a compelling cast of characters, each vividly realized with complicated motives, frailties, and strengths," the foundation said in a statement.


Bee expert Marla Spivak, 55, was honoured for her pioneering research on breeding bees that have a resistance to parasitic mites that are decimating bee populations. The health of bees is essential for vegetables, fruits and nuts that need bees for pollination.


"I've a couple of big visions. I've been trying to figure out ways to fund them. They all have to do with helping bees and beekeepers," Spivak said in a phone interview with Reuters.


Michal Lipson is an American optical physicist whose work combines photonics and nanofabrication engineering in the creation of silicon-based photonic circuits. These circuits make optical computing devices possible. Lipson received her BSc in physics (1992) and her PhD (1998) from the Technion. She is the past winner of a Fulbright Fellowship.


“This group of Fellows, along with the more than 800 who have come before, reflects the tremendous breadth of creativity among us,” stated MacArthur President Robert Gallucci. “They are explorers and risk takers, contributing to their fields and to society in innovative, impactful ways. They provide us all with inspiration and hope for the future.”

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