Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Science prizes: Best in class

What is it like to be labelled a genius? Kendall Powell follows the paths of four MacArthur Fellows — and finds they lead to rutting elephant bulls, climate-change champions, hybrid sunflowers and robotic hands.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Access options

Rent or buy this article

Get just this article for as long as you need it


Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout


  1. Kahl, M. P. & Armstrong, B. D. Mammalia 66, 159–171 (2002).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Santer, B. D. et al. Nature 382, 39–46 (1996).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Nicholls, N. Nature 382, 27–28 (1996).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Santer, B. D. et al. Science 309, 1551–1556 (2005).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Rieseberg, L. H., Sinervo, B., Linder, C. R., Ungever, M. C. & Arias, D. M. Science 272, 741–745 (1996).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Harter, A. V. et al. Nature 430, 201–205 (2004).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Vande Weghe, M., Rogers, M., Weissert, M. & Matsuoka, Y. Proc. IEEE Intl Conf. Robot. Automat. 4, 3375–3379 (2004).

    Google Scholar 

  8. Widge, A. S., Jefferies-El, M., Cui, X., Lagenaur, C. F. & Matsuoka, Y. Biosens. Bioelectron. 22, 1723–1732 (2007).

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references


Additional information

Kendall Powell is a freelance science writer based in Broomfield, Colorado. Read our news story about the MacArthur Fellows of 2008.

Related links

Related links

Related external links

MacArthur Foundation

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Loren Rieseberg's Lab page

Yoky Matsuoka's Lab page

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Powell, K. Science prizes: Best in class. Nature 455, 455–458 (2008).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing