Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Close to Genius

The MacArthur Foundation announced their 2012 Fellows, also know as the genius awards. Among the list two names of interest to my readers, Maria Chudnovsky and Daniel Spielman.

My long time readers first heard of Maria back in 2003 when I posted about a great talk she gave as a graduate student giving a polynomial-time algorithm to test for perfect graphs. That was just a start in her incredible career as a graph theorist.

Dan is a regular in the blog for the various awards he's won, most notably (before the MacArthur) for his Nevanlinna prize. I believe Dan is my first genius co-author, alas not one of the papers that causing him to win awards.

I've seen many cases where researchers get fantastic results early in their career and can never live up to the hype. Dan and Maria exceeded it. Congrats to both of them.


  1. Dan is your first genius co-author.

    As one of your non-genius co-authors, I
    feel insulted :-)

  2. The last paragraph may be a bit too harsh. If one looks at the really great achievements in science one will find that very few (none?) of the scientists involved lived up to the hype. Even Einstein did not after his two relativity theories. And he is generally considered the prototype of a genius. Also, science has some similarities with sports, the fantastic results and world records are usually achieved by the young.