Inside the Mind of a Genius: Daniel Mikhail Sigman

MacArthur Foundation
MacArthur Foundation

Now that you know How to Be a Black Genius, members of the 2009 class of MacArthur fellows give some insight into the way they live and think.



Age: 40

Hometown: Los Angeles, California

Current Location: Hopewell, New Jersey

Occupation: Professor at Princeton University

1. What four adjectives would your first best friend use to describe you?

Focused, goofy, sarcastic, fretting.

2. What dish do you make well?

Baked beans (from a can)

3. What was your favorite song when you were in high school?

"Synchronicity" by The Police

4. What is the quickest, best form of charity?

I don't think those are the same. But everyone deserves to be looked in the eye and addressed with respect.


5. Do you believe in magic?


6. What's your drink?


7. What's the oldest piece of clothing you own?

T-shirt from a 1982 10k run

8. Do you handle compliments well?

No, but I do enjoy them.

9. What habit would you like to break?

Worrying; checking my bald spot using all reflective surfaces.

10. Mac or PC?


11. Who would you destroy?

I won't answer that.

12. What holiday do you enjoy?

Christmas, although I'm Jewish

13. What is your favorite of the first 10 amendments to the Constitution?


14. What is the difference between genius and talent?

I don't know.

15. On a scale of 1-10, how lucky are you?


16. What is your definition of luxury?

Being able to do the things you would do on vacation, a little bit every day.

17. Do you make your bed every day?


18. You own three novels by the same author-who is it?

John Steinbeck (John Crowley, too)

19. What has been the most extreme opposition to your work and way of thinking?

"What you're working on is very complicated. I am glad someone is doing it."

20. Vanilla bean, dark chocolate or Bing cherry?

Dark chocolate

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