Real Genius

September 17, 2014 at 5:19 pm 2 comments

Danielle S. Bassett, PhD  University of PennsylvaniaWe have no reason to doubt that Danielle Bassett would’ve made a great nurse. But we think it’s probably a good thing that she chose a different, more indirect way of helping people.

On Wednesday, Bassett ’04 was announced as one of 21 recipients of the 2014 MacArthur Fellowships. Nicknamed the “Genius Grants,” the MacArthur Fellows Program, according to the foundation’s website, “awards unrestricted fellowships to talented individuals who have shown extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction.”

A physicist at Penn—her full title is Assistant Professor of Innovation in the Department of Bioengineering—Bassett studies interconnectivity in the brain, research with huge implications for everything from language and memory to disease treatment. In the video below, she explains her path to academia (including that detour in nursing school) and the significance of her work:

Bassett joins an impressive list of fellow scientists, artists, educators, and social leaders who have earned a MacArthur grant since the program began in 1981. Earlier this year, she was also awarded a Sloan Research Fellowship by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. We’re proud to call her one of our own—though probably not quite as proud as her husband, fellow Penn physicist Lee Bassett ’04.

Ryan Jones, senior editor

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Cheryl B  |  September 17, 2014 at 5:36 pm

    I am not quite sure why you would imply that her likely profession would be being a nurse?

  • 2. Ryan Jones  |  September 17, 2014 at 5:44 pm

    Cheryl — We led with that because Danielle says she briefly attended nursing school before switching academic directions. If you have a chance to watch the short YouTube clip embedded above, you can hear her reference that. Thanks.
    Ryan Jones

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