MacArthur Fellows Reflect on the Impact of their Fellowship

“The MacArthur Fellowship allowed me to ride that mysterious, impractical train and I’m riding it still.” — Elizabeth Streb, Dancer and Choreographer, 1997 MacArthur Fellow

“It has been a great and exhilarating ride. When I received the Fellowship in 2000, I had been working on the problem of anthropoid origins (the search for the common ancestors of living monkeys, apes and humans) in various parts of China. The Fellowship allowed me to expand my work into other countries…The photo shows an international team of American, French and Libyan scientists near Waw an Namus in southern Libya. Near this site we found the oldest African anthropoid fossils discovered to date.” — Chris Beard, Paleontologist, 2000 MacArthur Fellow

“Much of my 2020 and 2021 can be viewed through this sliver of my office. Although the pandemic has been difficult in many ways, I am so grateful for what this Fellowship has allowed me: the much-needed time and space to create, practice, experiment, study, and be still. Taking the long view, this period feels like a storing of energy and stockpiling of creativity…we are on the brink of an immense outpouring of creativity around the world, as the momentum picks up again.” — Mary Halvorson, Guitarist and Composer, 2019 MacArthur Fellow

“The MacArthur Fellowship provided true intellectual freedom to explore new frontiers of scientific knowledge. Undoubtedly, the period of greatest creativity in my career occurred during the MacArthur Fellowship.” — Mark Hersham, Materials Scientist, 2014 MacArthur Fellow

“My MacArthur Fellowship did two wonderful things in my personal and professional life. First, it helped me unlock some of the secrets behind the incredible longevity and aesthetic appeal of 15th Century European papers. And secondly, it gave my obsession with these papers a kind of credibility that was very valuable to me and to colleagues of mine working in closely allied fields.” — Timothy Barrett, Papermaker, 2009 MacArthur Fellow

“Our big vision to reduce newborn mortality in Africa started small. The MacArthur Fellowship enabled that small vision to grow and become a reality. It empowered an extraordinary network of global partners and supporters with a zeal to mobilize our vision and scale our program across the African continent.” — Rebecca Richards-Kortum, Bioengineer, 2016 MacArthur Fellow

“This photo was the cover image both for a Festschrift that was issued on my 70th birthday and my intellectual memoir (A Synthesizing Mind) that was published last September. It depicts me doing what I do a lot of the time, and the organized messiness or messy organization in which I happily think and write.” — Howard Gardner, Psychologist, 1981 MacArthur Fellow




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We support creative people and effective institutions committed to building a more just, verdant, and peaceful world. ⚖🌿☮🌎

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