Tuesday, September 22, 2009

MacArthur Fellows, Designing Bridges, and an Uncle who Turns 90 Today

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has announced the 2009 Fellows, each of whom will receive $100,000 a year for the next 5 years to pursue their work without any strings attached. The information on the awardees, which includes 4 recipients from Massachusetts, can be found on the MacArthur Foundation website. There are scientists, an engineer, an applied mathematician, an economist, lawyers, and creative artists and writers on the list. The recipients range in age from 32 to 69.

Theodore Zoli, who received his BS degree in Civil Engineering and Operations Research (one of my major areas of expertise) from Princeton University, is among the twenty-four 2009 MacArthur Fellows. He designs bridges to withstand disasters, a topic dear to my heart, since infrastructure planning and its resilience is one of my research areas. Plus, my uncle, Stanley Jarosz, who turns 90 years old today, still works in Manhattan as a bridge designer and has garnered numerous awards for his bridge designs, including the Roebling Award in 2001.

L. Mahadevan, a Professor of Applied Mathematics at Harvard, and another 2009 MacArthur Fellow, who applies mathematics to problems ranging from the wrinkling of skin to tightrope walking said it well in today's Boston Globe when discussing his research interests: In the end ... it is driven by what drives all of us -- curiosity.

Congratulations to all the 2009 Fellows and Happy 90th Birthday to my amazing uncle!