Ron Eglash is an ethno-mathematician: he studies the way math and cultures intersect. He has shown that many aspects of African design -- in architecture, art, even hair braiding -- are based on perfect fractal patterns.
Hod Lipson works at the intersection of engineering and biology, studying robots and the way they "behave" and evolve. His work has exciting implications for design and manufacturing -- and serves as a window to understand our own behavior and evolution.
John Maeda, the former president of the Rhode Island School of Design, is dedicated to linking design and technology. Through the software tools, web pages and books he creates, he spreads his philosophy of elegant simplicity.
Janna Levin is a professor of physics and astronomy at Barnard, where she studies the early universe, chaos, and black holes. She's the author of “How the Universe Got Its Spots" and the novel “A Madman Dreams of Turing Machines.”