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MacArthur Foundation grants honor creative work in technical and artistic fields

SPIE congratulates the winners of this year's MacArthur Fellowships, known informally as "genius grants." Two of this year's recipients have presented papers on their work at SPIE symposia.

Yoky Matsuoka, a neuroroboticist at the University of Washington, works on how the brain controls movement. She co-authored a paper at the SPIE Medical Imaging symposium in 2004 entitled "A novel machine interface for scaled telesurgery." She was previously head of the Neurobotics Laboratory at Carnegie Mellon University. In 2004 she received the National Science Foundation's Presidential Early Career Award.

Ruth DeFries, an environmental geographer at the University of Maryland / College Park, researches deforestation and other changes that humans are making to the Earth's land surface. Using data from satellites and field work, DeFries studies how these changes affect climate, biodiversity, water quality and other factors that determine the Earth's habitability. She was co-author of a paper at the SPIE Asia-Pacific symposium on Remote Sensing in 1998 entitled "Developing the spectral trajectories of major land cover change processes." She was elected to the National Academy of Sciences last year.

The MacArthur Fellows Program awards unrestricted fellowships to talented individuals who have shown extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction. There are three criteria for selection of Fellows: exceptional creativity, promise for important future advances based on a track record of significant accomplishment, and potential for the fellowship to facilitate subsequent creative work. The program is intended to encourage people of outstanding talent to pursue their own creative, intellectual, and professional inclinations. Recipients may be writers, scientists, artists, social scientists, humanists, teachers, entrepreneurs, or those in other fields, with or without institutional affiliations.

The Medical Imaging symposium is one of SPIE's longest running series, launched in 1987 and held annually since then. The next one will be held in February 2008 in San Diego, CA. Topics are image visualization, and image-guided procedures; physics of medical imaging; physiology, function, and structure from medical images; image processing; PACS and imaging informatics; image perception, observer performance, and technology assessment; ultrasonic imaging and signal processing; and computer-aided diagnosis.

SPIE's first Asia-Pacific symposium on Remote Sensing of the Atmosphere, Environment, and Space was held in Beijing and organized in cooperation with numerous societies and institutes from throughout the region. The most recent symposium in this series was in Goa, India, in November 2006, and focused on remote sensing applications for resource management and disaster warning and mitigation. The next is scheduled to be held during the last half of 2008, with several locations under consideration.