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Local Women Win MacArthur ‘Genius Grants’

By Christina Hager, WBZ-TV
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WBZ-TV's Christina Hager Christina Hager
Award-winning reporter Christina Hager works as a general assignmen...
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BOSTON (CBS) – You could call them the three women of genius. They’re academics from Massachusetts who’ve received the prestigious MacArthur ‘genius grant.’

Two are from MIT, and one is from Boston College.

Sara Seager has made it her mission to find another planet with life. She calls it an “Earth twin.” So when her assistant at MIT took the call from the MacArthur Foundation, she was skeptical. “I get a lot of unusual calls from people who have questions about aliens or UFOs, it really sounded like it was going to be one of those calls.” It took more calls and emails to finally let her know she won the award. “I was thrilled.”

Her MIT colleague Dina Katabi also received the genius grant for her work making WiFi stronger, faster, and more secure.

At Boston College, historian Robin Fleming also makes the list. She works with archaeologists to piece together the history of an undocumented chapter in medieval Britain.

They will each get a grant of $625,000 over the next five years.

“There’s all sorts of things I want to do,” says Fleming. “I’m really excited to just get at it.”

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