It’s MacArthur season again, when that stealthy foundation names 23 people who are making this world a better place are surprised with a phone call telling them that they are being awarded $100,000 a year for five years to put toward their work in whatever way they deem necessary. Scientists, scholars, musicians, teachers, writers, inventors, artists… and this year, two locals. They are:
John Dabiri, who is, at age 30, this year’s youngest winner. He’s a scientist at Caltech who explores the hydrodynamics of jellyfish propulsion, which could have a big impact on how we humans might propel ourselves in the future. And his research into schooling fish has already helped wind-farming technology.
Jorge Pardo, 47, a sculptor, designer and artist of diverse and acclaimed talent. Okay, he doesn’t actually live in Pasadena, but Mt. Washington is close enough—plus, his kids go to Sequoyah School, and he spends a lot of time here, so we’ll claim him.
In this age of rote learning, the MacArthur Foundation celebrates the importance of creativity by giving its awards to people in the arts and sciences who display “exceptional creativity in their work and the prospect for still more in the future.” Winners have no idea they’re under consideration for the award.
We’re also hugely pleased to see that the winners include David Simon, the creator of the Wire and Treme, and Emmanuel Saez, a young Berkeley economics professor who proved the economic value of outstanding kindergarten teachers, which we’ve always known to be true.