Israeli-American prof receives genius grant

(JTA) — Maria Chudnovsky, an Israeli-American university professor, was one of 23 Americans to receive a MacArthur Foundation genius grant.

The $500,000 grants — the foundation’s fellowships for extraordinary originality — were awarded Monday.

Chudnovsky, 35, who immigrated with her family to Israel from her native Russia when she was 13, researches graph theory in the field of theoretical mathematics. She received her undergraduate and master’s degrees at the Technion in Haifa and a doctorate at Princeton University. She has worked as a professor at Columbia University since 2006.

Since 1981, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundationhas has awarded the grants to individuals who “have shown extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction,” according to the foundation website.

Other 2012 winners include  Chris Thile, a mandolin player and composer; David Finkel, a Washington Post reporter on military affairs; and Dr. Eric Coleman, whose work in geriatrics helps patients transition from hospital to home.

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