Twenty-three new MacArthur Fellows have been named for 2012, reports The New York Times. The awards go to artists and scientists, and composers and engineers. Among the new fellows are Sarkis Mazmanian at the California Institute of Technology, who studies symbiotic relationships between humans and their microbiomes, Melody Swartz from École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne who is using a variety of approaches to model how fluids move through biological tissues, and Yale University's Daniel Spielman who studies coding theory as well as why optimization algorithms can work better than theory predicts.
The "genius grants" awards each fellow $100,000 a year for five years for the winners to use as they wish. "You usually have to apply for something, and it's a lot of work," says Natalia Almada, a new fellow and filmmaker from Mexico, in the Times. "It's such freedom to think I can count on something. It's huge. It's validating."