Princeton Engineering graduate John Dabiri, now a researcher at CalTech, has been named a MacArthur Fellow — an honor that comes with a no-strings-attached “genius grant” of $500,000.

Dabiri is a biophysicist whose work draws on a wide range of fields, from theoretical fluid dynamics to evolutionary biology. He studies the locomotion of jellyfish, which propel themselves by contracting cells in their bell-shaped outer skin and generating jet forces in the tail end, with tentacles trailing behind.

In the video above, Dabiri explains how his research might have applications for optimizing the placement of wind farms.

The Daily Princetonian‘s Nava Friedman published this interesting interview with Dabiri, who graduated from Princeton in 2001 with a degree in mechanical and aerospace engineering.

Dabiri tells Friedman: “I guess the main thing that Princeton probably did was give me the confidence to be able to ask the unusual questions — to try to be creative without fear of failure. It’s a pretty amazing place.”

Other MacArthur “genius” grant recipients in the Princeton Engineering orbit include Naomi Ehrich Leonard, Claire Gmachl, and Theodore Zoli.