Among this year's new batch of MacArthur Foundation Fellows are computer scientist Craig Gentry and physicist Danielle Bassett.
Gentry, a research scientist at IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center, works on cryptography that may one day make cloud computing more secure, while Bassett, a physicist at the University of Pennsylvania, focuses on the connectivity of the human brain, work that may inform learning and lead to better understanding of psychiatric diseases.
At 32, Bassett, the New York Times notes, is the youngest recipient of the fellowship this year.
"Halfway through [the phone call informing her of receiving the grant], I said, 'Are you absolutely sure you got the right person?'" Bassett tells the Times. "Then they read my bio to me. It's an unexpected honor and sort of validation."
The fellows, or so-called 'genius' grant recipients, receive $625,000 over five years.
Other recipients include Tami Bond at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; Mark Hersam at Northwestern University; Harvard University's Jacob Lurie; and Yitang Zhang from the University of New Hampshire.