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Three others with UW–Madison ties win ‘genius grants’

October 12, 2022

In addition to history professor Monica Kim, three other winners of the 2022 MacArthur “genius grant” have UW–Madison ties:

Steven Ruggles, now professor of history and population studies at the University of Minnesota, earned his undergraduate degree at UW–Madison in 1978 and returned in 1985 to conduct postdoctoral research at the Center for Demography and Ecology. Ruggles is a historical demographer building the world’s most extensive database of population statistics — including billions of people from more than 100 countries — in the course of his research on the decline of multi-generational households and the rise of single parenthood and divorce.

Robin Wall Kimmerer, professor and director of the Center for Native Peoples and the Environment at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry, earned her master’s degree (1979) and doctorate (1983) in plant ecology at UW–Madison. A member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, Kimmer brings her expertise in restoration of ecological communities to scholarship on the inherent kinship between humans and the animals, plants and habitats around them. She advocates for the advantages of combining different traditions of knowledge in her writing, including the book “Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants.”

Melanie Matchett Wood, a professor at Harvard University and Radcliffe Alumnae Professor at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, was a professor of Mathematics at UW–Madison from 2011 to 2019. Wood’s research employs arithmetic statistics to study prime numbers and to model and rank elliptical curves, revealing numerical properties that set the stage for new mathematical discoveries.