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MIT's Newest Geniuses

Three alumni win MacArthur grants

Three MIT alumni are among the 23 winners of the 2010 MacArthur fellowships, also known as “genius grants.” Awarded annually out of the blue, the $500,000 grants are to be used as the recipients see fit. MIT physics professor Nergis Mavalvala, PhD ‘97 (right), was recognized for her efforts to detect gravitational waves created by the violent collisions of stars and in the earliest moments of the universe. Linguist Jessie Little Doe Baird, SM ‘00, won for her efforts to revitalize Wampanoag (or Wôpanâak), the Algonquian language of her ancestors, which became extinct in the 19th century. Emmanuel Saez, PhD ‘99, an economics professor at the University of California, Berkeley, and director of its Center for Equitable Growth, was honored for his work on the relationship between income and tax policy. His research focuses on wealth and income inequality, capital income taxation, and retirement.

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