The 2015 Macarthur Foundation ‘Genius’ Scientists Have Been Announced

Meet a stem-cell transforming biologist, a synthetic leaf creator, and the other scientists awarded a 2015 Macarthur fellowship

Every year the MacArthur Foundation gives out its famous “genius grants” to talented people whose work shows promise to make the future a better, more interesting place. This year the prize is a hefty $625,000 and has been given to artists, writers, activists and, of course, scientists. Meet some of the 2015 fellows:

Chemist William Dichtel: Creates porous polymers with an enormous surface area (on the scale of a football field per gram of polymer) which can be used for power storage and water purification.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HoRnL2uejbM//

Computational biologist John Novembre: Studies human evolutionary and genetic history, allowing for highly detailed ancestral tracing and disease pattern mapping.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=czVNYdtAaB8//

Computer scientist Christopher Ré: Built an inference system that analyzes “dark data,” which could be used in many fields and is currently used to get data about human trafficking from the dark web.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pv3bGY94Rxk//

Neuroscientist Beth Stevens: Studies how brain connections form and change throughout life, giving insight into the development neurological diseases like Huntington’s and Alzheimer’s.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6DOYTpXkLOY//

Stem cell biologist Lorenz Studer: Creates transplantable neurons that make dopamine from stem cells, which could provide a treatment for Parkinson’s disease.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ogf1QNcTlV0//

Inorganic chemist Peidong Yang: Studies semiconductor nanowires, which led to the creation of a synthetic “leaf” made of nanowires and bacteria that could make clean fuel.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bRmbF9odtk8//

Environmental engineer Kartik Chandran: Combines microbial ecology, molecular biology, and engineering to change wastewater into fertilizer and energy as well as pure water.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b-e2GYBKwRg//

Congratulations to all, as well as to the fellows NOT in the hard sciences.