What makes a genius?
In the eyes of the MacArthur Foundation you can be an economist or jazz musician, a computer scientist or choreographer, but you need to have one trait in common: "exceptional creativity."
Of course, what makes someone "creative" is just as subjective as what makes someone a "genius." Fortunately, the MacArthur Foundation has helped sort that out for us with their annual group of Macarthur "Genius" Fellows
Since 1981, the foundation has awarded 873 people with the unrestricted grant to pursue their interests. This year’s recipients will receive a $625,000 grant (an increase from $500,000) that is distributed over five years.
"This year’s class of MacArthur Fellows is an extraordinary group of individuals who collectively reflect the breadth and depth of American creativity," said Cecilia Conrad, Vice President, MacArthur Fellows Program. "They are artists, social innovators, scientists, and humanists who are working to improve the human condition and to preserve and sustain our natural and cultural heritage. Their stories should inspire each of us to consider our own potential to contribute our talents for the betterment of humankind."
Read on to meet some of the most creative people in the United States.