The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation announced new fellows for the United States and Canada this week, and as usual the list is dominated by academics. Of the 180 fellows (culled from more than 3,000 applicants), 124 have full-time university gigs.
Scroll through the list of winners, and what’s most striking is the diversity of topics. Some are specific: Vincent Caretta, a professor of English at the University of Maryland, is working on a biography of the poet Phillis Wheatley. Francesca Fiorani, an associate professor of art history at the University of Virginia, is writing about the shadows of Leonardo da Vinci (the ones in his paintings, presumably).
Other topics are broader. John Campbell, a professor of philosophy at the University of California at Berkeley, is interested in causation in psychology. Meanwhile, Martin Doyle, an associate professor of geography at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is writing a history of American rivers.
Some sound like thrillers. George D. Gollin, a professor of physics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, is writing about how U.S. criminals took control of the Liberian Embassy and that nation’s ministry of education. Movie rights are sure to be snapped up.
And then there are the topics that, to nonspecialists, might as well be gibberish. Wilhelm Schlag, a professor of mathematics at the University of Chicago, is writing about “blowup and longtime existence for nonlinear hyperbolic equations.” We wish him luck. —Thomas Bartlett