Last year, Matthew Carter. This year, Shwetak Patel, a fellow Husky and computer science and engineering professor. Makes me so proud of my University of Washington pedigree. But anyway, have you ever thought about what it’s like to be crowned a genius? Jim Collins, a bioengineer and 2003 MacArthur fellow, talks about it here:
Two years ago, I received a call. The person on the other end of the line asked if I was Jim Collins and if I was alone. For a moment, I thought I was receiving an obscene phone call.
The caller then told me I had been selected as a MacArthur fellow. I laughed, convinced this was another well-orchestrated prank by one of my former college roommates. The caller tried to reassure me, and eventually gave me a number to call to confirm the award. The number had a Chicago area code, the home of the MacArthur Foundation. Maybe this was legit.
I called the number and was assured by the folks on the other end that I really had been selected for the award. They then told me I couldn’t tell anyone, except my immediate family, until the announcement in a few days.
The encouraging thing is that these are regular people, going about their daily lives, pouring their hearts and souls into things they love. Just like you. Just like me. Well, kind of.