2005 MacArthur Fellows Announced:
The list is here. For more on the MacArthur Fellows program, see this post from last year.
BobVDV (mail):
Darn, passed over again.
9.20.2005 8:45pm
Jeremy (mail):

Didn't you read the application? Doing real work that benefits society is an automatic disqualifier.
9.21.2005 2:57am
Nobody Special:
Pehr Harbury, the biochemist at Stanford, looks exactly like Jim Carrey.

Go look, I'm not kidding.
9.21.2005 9:57am
goldsmith (mail):
The visual artists receiving grants are, as usual, mediocre and seem to have been awarded fellowships (as usual) on the basis of the artist's racial or social demographic and/or their work's political content (make sure you use words like "displaced peoples" and "issues of identity" frequently). I know an artist who received a MacArthur fellowship at a very young age, based solely on one body of trendy, racial-political work (she's black) and the grant, and the ensuing publicity, did more to stifle and ruin her career than help it in the long run, because the type of work she did prior to receiving the fellowship was all that anyone wanted to see out of her forever after.

Oh well, I can only hope the science grants are worthwhile.
9.21.2005 10:55am
erp (mail):
Hope springs eternal.
9.21.2005 12:11pm
Wow, some sour grapes here...they look like an amazingly talented bunch, although I do think it's odd to give such a realtively high profile writer (Lethem) the prize.
9.21.2005 1:24pm
Nobody (mail):
I agree with Goldsmith. Why can't we have more visual art depicting the lives of rich white people?
9.21.2005 1:49pm
Anthony (mail) (www):
I've read somewhere that most of the MacArthur awardees never did anything as interesting after they received the award as the work they did to get the award. Counterexamples, anyone?
9.21.2005 3:11pm
Are you saying that the awards encourage extraordinary people to become mediocre?

It's all a plot!
9.21.2005 3:47pm
Shelby (mail):
I'm surprised and gratified that I'd heard of one of the recipients (Ted Ames, the lobster guy), and he sounded fully deserving. I'm suprised but not gratified that I hadn't run across Letham. How many readers here were previously aware of several recipients? Are they in your field?
9.21.2005 4:34pm
BobVDV (mail):
Sam Mockbee was a professor in architecture at Auburn University, specializing in designing low-budget housing for the poor, through his Rural Studio. The NY Times called it "small-scale architecture that could help lift people out of poverty by providing affordable housing as well as community buildings."

About his MacArthur award, Sambo said, "I'm no genius, but I'm smart enough to take the money." Sadly, he died of cancer just a year or so after receiving his MacArthur award.
9.21.2005 6:22pm
Adam (mail) (www):
Goldsmith, I think Kara Walker's still doing great work.
9.21.2005 11:38pm
Phil (mail):
I realize that this post has about run its course. It is worth noting the number of fields that seem underrepresented. I have not looked at a least of all the recipients, but from the past few years there seem to be no lawyers (possibly a good thing), philosophers (ditto), theologians, or military officers. Am I mistaken?
I understand that there is no requirement to be representative, nor should there be, but if one compares these honorees to say, White House or Judicial fellows, the contrast is dramatic, even allowing for the differing functions of the recipients.
I should add that I think that Ted Ames is an interesting and good choice and that Lu Chen seems quite deserving. It is hard for me to evaluate many of the recipients because of their non-traditional credentials (which is not necessarily bad; I bet that Jesus and Socrates had non-traditional credeentials as well)
9.22.2005 5:47am