LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 22: Dr. Elissa Hallem works in her office at the University of California, Los Angeles, in the Westwood neighborhood on Saturday afternoon, September 22nd, 2012 in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Stephanie Diani for Home Front Communications). Photographer: Stephanie Diani

Every year, the MacArthur Foundation makes an investment–a $500,000 investment–in the future by handing out bags of money to people whose work shows promise. Of course that includes scientists doing world-changing research. The 2012 fellows were just announced, and here they are. Two of the winners have also been named one of PopSci‘s Brilliant 10: Maria Chudnovsky and Melody Swartz.

  • Geochemist Terry Plank: Looks at the collisions between Earth’s tectonic plates, and other phenomena below the surface.

MacArthur Foundation