Widely known for his iconic sculptures such as Balloon Dog and Rabbit, Koons is one of America’s leading contemporary artists. His cavalcade of ready-mades has been exhibited extensively around the globe and recently earned him the U.S. State Department’s Medal of Arts. He created this year’s Ingenuity Award, a crystalline sculpture of aluminum, pewter and chrome. The “explosive” crystals that burst forth symbolize innovation, he says, and the reflective surface shows that “creativity happens inside the viewer.”
“There was a lot of thought about how the subject would have a positive and even a healing experience in the course of doing an interview,” Griswold says of the oral histories conducted by Voice of Witness. She is the author of The Tenth Parallel: Dispatches From the Fault Line Between Christianity and Islam.
Awarded the 2012 AAAS Kavli Science Journalism Award for her Smithsonian feature “Crisis in the Caves,” Nijhuis reports on new research into documents by Henry David Thoreau and others that sheds light on today’s invasive plants. “Those records, collected in the mid-1800s, are still yielding new information,” she says.
The award-winning author of My Father’s Paradise, Sabar was impressed by the ability of the engineer-inventor John Rogers to “calmly impose order on the dozens of multi-tentacled projects he works on at any one time.” Some of Rogers’ students had posted a motivational sign in the lab reading “WWJD,” for “What would John do?”
The former Nieman Fellow at Harvard has a college degree in molecular biology and covers science for numerous publications. She says the subject of epigenetics is “deeply personal” partly because she was adopted as an infant: “I see so much of myself in my adoptive parents. It always felt like the connection must go deeper than simple learned behaviors. So the idea that our environments can influence our genes has always resonated with, and fascinated, me.”
A contributing music critic for the Washington Post since 1977 and the winner of two ASCAP Deems Taylor Awards for music writing, Himes has written about legends including Dolly Parton, Ornette Coleman and Allen Ginsberg. “When I interviewed Annie Clark (a.k.a. St. Vincent) at a Dallas restaurant,” he says, “I pulled out my rental-car map and handed her a ballpoint pen so she could sketch out the geography of her history in Texas. Which she gladly did.”
The author of two books of photography—Sex Machines and Echolilia—Archibald specializes in portraits that are, he says, “human, humorous and sometimes subversive.” He photographed four of this year’s Ingenuity Award winners: “We always tried to make sure that the idea didn’t overpower the person.”