Sunday, July 26, 2009

Near Misses In The Genius Department

Shamelessly copied from the Smithsonian magazine, here is a brief look at some of the people who missed out on the annual MacArthur genius grant. Or at least here are some of the more entertaining ones:

Neill Goldberger
Upending the academic establishment with the revolutionary premise that history cannot be understood as a linear narrative or a recurring loop, but rather as a large, multicolored rhombus. Best known for his controversial theory that Eleanor Roosevelt and Charles de Gaulle were in fact the same person.

Victor Bladinovsky
Defying conventions of classical music by sacrificing traditional notions of structure and lyricism for ever-increasing volume. Best known for the 12-minute air horn chorale at the end of his NASCAR Sonata and the exquisite but rarely performed Fantasie for Strings and Industrial Wood Chipper (Op. 433).

Ophelia Schmidt
Widely known as the "Alfred Kinsey of prokaryotes," Schmidt has applied the accumulated wisdom of three decades in traditional sex therapy to the widespread but largely unexplored reproductive dysfunctions of single- celled organisms. With little more than an electron microscope and rigorous Jungian technique, she has diagnosed over 400 previously unknown asexual disorders from "flagella envy" to "premature cytokinesis." Her self-published manifesto, The Chromo Sutra, has sold three copies.

And my personal favorite:

Arthur Grexby

Transforming the field of seismology with a reconfigured Richter scale that awards points not just for magnitude but also for artistic merit. A fiercely independent thinker, he is believed to be the first major geologist to refute the existence of the Himalayas—a claim later retracted when he realized that two pages of his atlas were stuck together.
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