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U of T professor wins $625,000 grant

November 17th, 2015 · No Comments

A 40-year-old archaeology professor at the University of Toronto has been awarded a MacArthur “genius grant”. Dimitri Nakassis, who studies Late Bronze Age (Mycenaean) Greek society, will receive $625,000 over five years to spend however he chooses, but is still not sure how he will use the grant.

“My interpretation of the award is that the foundation thinks that the work I’ve done so far is productive, interesting, and innovative, and the money gives me the opportunity to continue to do that kind of work,” said Nakassis in an email. “But I only have one shot at getting this right, so I need to proceed carefully and thoughtfully.”

Nakassis added that there is still so much to be found and studied in Greece.

“Greece is a country that’s been the focus of a lot of archaeological exploration, for sure, but amazing new discoveries are being made all the time — a new Mycenaean palace was recently found near Sparta, for instance — and scholars studying ancient Greece are increasing our understanding of it constantly,” he said. “It’s a really exciting field, and I hope that my award can bring some much-needed attention to it.”

Although the professor spent most of his childhood vacationing in Greece and was fascinated by it at a young age, it wasn’t until he got to university that he became convinced that he wanted to study Greek archaeology.

An initiative of the American independent John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the MacArthur Fellows Program awards no-strings-attached grants that “celebrate and empower the creative potential of individuals”. Grant winners, called “fellows”, come from a broad range of professions.

—Summer Reid/Gleaner News

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