Gender expert thought ‘genius grant’ was a prank

Kristina Olson
University of Washington psychology professor Kristina Olson is among this year’s 25 winners of MacArthur “genius” grants. (UW Photo / Dennis Wise)Ps

When University of Washington psychology professor Kristina Olson got the call telling her she’d be receiving one of the MacArthur Foundation’s “genius grants,” she had to ask if they had the right number.

“For a few days after, I continued to think it was an elaborate prank,” Olson said in a news release.

But there’s no denying it now: On Oct. 4, Olson was listed among this year’s MacArthur Fellows, which earns her a no-strings-attached $625,000 stipend that’s spread out over five years. Other fellows include writers, artists, musicians, activists, scholars and even an investigative journalist (Ken Ward Jr. of the Charleston Gazette-Mail in West Virginia).

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

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