Genius Grants Honor the Tenacious

From Science:


Richard Prum suffered a bad break for someone who studies birds for a living: major hearing loss that rendered him unable to appreciate his subjects' songs. “I live in an acoustically flat world,” says Prum. So he's had to narrow his attention to what he could see: avian plumage. For the past decade or so, Prum has combined the studies of evolution and development to analyze feathers as “a kind of a tough problem in the evolution of novelty.” That's turned out to be more rewarding than Prum, a Yale University professor, ever imagined: Today he received $500,000 in an unrestricted 5-year gift from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

Prum, 48, is one of seven scientists, two physicians, and an engineer among this year's 24 recipients of the MacArthur “genius” awards.

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