Nigerian Wins $500k Science Award

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A Nigerian biophysicist, Dr. John O. Dabiri, is one of this year’s winners of the  prestigious MacArthur Genius Awards.  He is among the 23 winners selected across the  world.

Online news portal, Huffington Post reports that Dabiri, aged 30 years, is an Associate  Professor of Aeronautics and Bioengineering at the California Institute of Technology,  Pasadena, California.

He received his undergraduate degree, BSE, summa cum laude in Mechanical and Aerospace  Engineering from Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey.

The MacArthur Foundation was quoted as saying that Dabiri is “investigating the  hydrodynamics of jellyfish propulsion, which has profound implications for our  understanding of evolutionary adaptation and such related issues in fluid dynamics as  blood flow in the human heart.”

The famed MacArthur Fellows Program, awards “Genius” grants to exceptional inventors,  innovators and other creative types. Dabiri gets the $500,000 grant and is unrestricted  in promoting the work of the winner.

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This year’s honorees were contacted out of the blue by The John D. and Catherine T.  MacArthur Foundation and offered $500,000 each with no strings attached over the next  five years to pursue work in their field of interest.

“This group of Fellows, along with the more than 800 who have come before, reflects the  tremendous breadth of creativity among us,” said MacArthur President Robert Gallucci in a  press release.

“They are explorers and risk takers, contributing to their fields and to society in  innovative, impactful ways. They provide us all with inspiration and hope for the  future.”

The foundation introduced the 23 fellows by providing a video of each winner and their  important contributions in a vast array of fields.

Reacting to the award, Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka said: “I am exceedingly  happy, as always, to read this news about (Dabiri) a member of the Joshua generation of  my home country, Nigeria and I feel very happy that I’m not writing this time about the  sickening corruption in my home country.”