Mahadevan, Huybers, and Others Named MacArthur Fellows

Two faculty members and two alumnae were awarded the highly publicized fellowships.

Mahadevan was the cover story in March-April 2008

Applied mathematician Lakshminarayanan Mahadevan and climate scientist Peter Huybers have been named MacArthur Fellows. Mahadevan, who is Lola England de Valpine professor of applied mathematics, is popularly known for precisely explaining phenomena such as the mechanism by which Venus flytraps ensnare their prey and the way flags flutter; he was profiled in this recent Harvard Magazine cover story supplemented by a video demonstration of his work. Huybers, assistant professor of earth and planetary sciences, studies glaciers and ice sheets over time, and uses such data to model climate change.

Among others who won the $500,000 fellowships are alumni Rebecca Onie '97, J.D. '03, founder  and executive director of Project HEALTH, which refers patients at public health clinics to needed services; John A. Rogers, JF '98, an applied physicist who is a leader in developing flexible electronic devices and is now at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; and poet Heather McHugh '69, writer-in-residence at the University of Washington. McHugh was Phi Beta Kappa poet at Harvard's Commencement in 2000, where she teasingly referred to her free-spirited youth (and the resulting delay in getting her degree): Describing herself as “chastened but not chaste,” she said she was glad to be invited back and honored on such a formal occasion in such a formal way. In her time at Harvard, she said, “‘liberal’ arts seemed so busy indulging the adjective, they forgot the noun.”

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