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3 Korean Americans Win MacArthur ‘Genius Grant’

3 Korean Americans Win MacArthur ‘Genius Grant’

Three Korean Americans have won this year’s MacArthur “Genius Grant” in the U.S.

The MacArthur Foundation’s prestigious fellowships are given to “talented individuals who have shown extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction” and are worth US$800,000.

The MacArthur Foundation said Wednesday it selected 25 fellows in the areas of science, arts and other disciplines. The Korean recipients are Huh June (39), a mathematician at Princeton University, Choi Ye-jin (45), a computer scientist at Washington University, and historian Monica Kim (44) at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

Previous recipients include former World Bank President Jim Yong Kim and poet Choi Don-mee.

From left, Choi Ye-jin, Monica Kim and Huh June

Huh, who also won the Fields Medal in July, the highest honor for a mathematician, was recognized for “discovering underlying connections between disparate areas of mathematics and proving long-standing mathematical conjectures,” according to the foundation.

Choi, who majored in computer engineering at Seoul National University and received a PhD from Cornell University, is an AI expert who used natural language processing “to develop artificial intelligence systems that can understand language and make inferences about the world.”

Kim, the older sister of U.S. Representative Andy Kim, is a renowned historian who studied the Korean War. A graduate of Yale University with a PhD from the University of Michigan, Kim was recognized for “uncovering new insights into U.S. foreign policy in the context of global decolonization after World War II.”

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