Known colloquially as the genius grants, the MacArthur Fellowships, given annually, are meant to provide recipients with the freedom to pursue creative activities and ambitious projects unburdened by financial concerns. Maria Chudnovsky is a mathematician who studies the fundamental principles of graph theory. Her research is highly abstract, but she is “laying the foundations for expanding the connections between graph theory and other major branches of mathematics, such as linear programming, geometry, and complexity theory,” the foundation says. Read more about Maria’s work here.