3 New Geniuses

This year’s MacArthur “Genius Grants” have been announced and, as usual, the award committee has tried to recognize a wide variety of human endeavor and scholarship

A papermaker dedicated to preserving traditional Western and Japanese techniques; a scientist developing theories of global climate change; and a journalist who helps uncover details of unsolved murders from the civil rights era are among the 24 recipients of the $500,000 “genius awards,” to be announced on Tuesday by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation….

Mutineers might be particularly interested in 3 of the award recipients who have a desi flavor –



Maneesh Agarwala is a UC-Berkeley Computer graphics researcher who specializes in data visualization –

[His] work focuses on developing new tools and algorithms to visualize and efficiently make sense of tremendous volumes of information. To do this, he draws on an understanding of human cognition, and specifically how the brain processes images and visual displays.

A few cool images & abstracts are on his Cal webpage.

L. Mahadevan is a Harvard Applied Mathematician who focuses on modelling complex biological and engineering phenomena.

…[he] applies complex mathematical analyses to a variety of seemingly simple, but vexing, questions across the physical and biological sciences — how cloth folds when draped, how skin wrinkles, how flags flutter, how Venus flytraps snap closed. Through his explorations of shape and motion, in many different material types, sizes, and time frames, Mahadevan strives to identify commonalities of the fundamental nonlinear and nonequilibrium behavior driving them.

Esther Duflo, while not Desi, was previously profiled on Sepia Mutiny for her work which has had a particular focus on economic development research via “randomized trials” in India –

[Duflo's economic trials] introduce many of the same controversies and arguments as the medical trials upon which they are modeled. Namely, they require making one group of individuals the control or placebo group & thus relegates their economic livelihood (temporarily at least) to the same fate as folks who receive sugar pills in medical trials. The upside of their “investigative” technique, however, is measured, real-world impact that separates the truth from dogma and yields surprising options for policy implementers

6 thoughts on “3 New Geniuses

  1. So many brown geniuses great at maf ! Let’s see some non-maf or science brown peoples win for arts or music – maybe they have – I don’t know. I just feel shame in comparison.

  2. congrats to all the desi winners:)

    I agree with GurMando though, i’d like to see some brown people win for arts or music.. the science nerds hog the spotlight all the time.