Benoit Rolland

Among the 23 recipients of the MacArthur "genius" grants this past week: an economist, a mathematician, a photographer, a neuroscientist, and a Boston-based stringed instrument bow maker.

Benoit Rolland acknowledges that the violin reigns supreme as the star of the strings, capable of fetching millions of dollars at auction. But what about the bow? "A violin with no bow is not a violin, that's clear," says Rolland.