The eclectic group of genius grant recipients includes scientists, artists, historians and writers, as well as a lawyer, a statistician and a photographer. They can spend the money however they like, having been awarded it for seeing things others haven't, asking questions others haven't asked and finding new solutions to old problems.
The awards, which have been given annually since 1981, are doled out over a five-year period. This year's class brings the number of recipients to nearly 900, and also will be given the largest amount ever – $125,000 more than last year. Shrouded in secrecy, the selection process involves anonymous nominators and selectors who make final recommendations to the board of directors of the John D and Catherine T MacArthur Foundation.
Reporting by the Associated Press.