Three New Jerseyans Win Genius Grants

Clifford Brangwynne, of Princeton, John Keene, of Newark, and Allan Sly, of Princeton, were named among the 2018 MacArthur Fellows.

From left: Clifford Brangwynne of Princeton; John Keene of Newark; and Allan Sly of Princeton.
From left: Clifford Brangwynne of Princeton; John Keene of Newark; and Allan Sly of Princeton.
Photo courtesy of the MacArthur Foundation

Think you’re a genius? Then you’ve got something in common with three other New Jersey residents awarded the “Genius Grant” from the MacArthur Foundation for their achievements in the fields of art, math and science.

Clifford Brangwynne, of Princeton, John Keene, of Newark, and Allan Sly, of Princeton, were named among the 2018 MacArthur Fellows. Each will receive a grant of $625,000 paid out over five years.

The MacArthur Fellows Program is, “intended to encourage people of outstanding talent to pursue their own creative, intellectual, and professional inclinations.” The grant allows recipients to, “exercise their own creative instincts for the benefit of human society.”

Brangwynne, 40, is a biophysical engineer and has been a faculty member at Princeton University since 2011. His research into cellular compartmentalization has the potential to shed light on biochemical malfunctions that contribute to disease.

Keene, 53, is chair of the Department of African American and African Studies and professor at Rutgers University-Newark. His work explores how historical narratives shape contemporary lives while also re-imagining such narratives from the perspectives of people marginalized by them, particularly people of color and LGBT individuals.

Sly, 36, is a professor in the Department of Mathematics at Princeton University. He is a mathematician and probability theorist making fundamental progress on resolving long-standing open problems in statistics physics and theoretical computer science.

Brangwynne, Keene and Sly join 44 other New Jerseyans who have been named MacArthur Foundation Fellows since the program was created in 1981.

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