82. Hu Shuli
for enlarging the space for debate in China.
Editor, Century Weekly | China
At the end of 2009, Hu Shuli left the magazine she'd become famous for -- Caijing, a muckraking biweekly that published aggressive stories on pollution, corruption, and the 2008 Sichuan earthquake during her 11-year stewardship -- in protest over government pressure. While many onlookers lamented the departure of one of China's most effective advocates for hard-hitting journalism, Hu wasn't silent for long. In January, she relaunched Century Weekly, formerly an academic journal, as a general-interest investigative newsmagazine. Hu's signature tough-minded style is already in evidence in recent articles on corruption and the imperative for political reform. As she put it this year, "We chose to leave [Caijing] because we wanted to continue what we had done, not because we wanted to give up."
83. Nicholas Christakis and James Fowler
for proving that social networks are more than tweets and pokes.
Sociologist, Harvard University | Boston
Political scientist, University of California | San Diego
Nicholas Christakis and James Fowler's 2009 book Connected explained how our weight, emotional well-being, and physical health are influenced by hundreds of people, most of whom we will never meet. This year they proved that their research has the potential to improve the largest social network of all: our global health-care system. In a paper released in September, Christakis and Fowler devised a way to predict the spread of infectious outbreaks. By assessing the most interconnected people in a social network, they reasoned, they could predict the spread of a virus before it hit the entire population. And the idea worked: By monitoring the spread of swine flu through Harvard University's undergraduate population in the winter of 2009, the researchers got a two-week jump on understanding the full extent of the epidemic. "If you want a crystal ball for finding out which parts of the country are going to get the flu first, then this may be the most effective method we have now," said Fowler.
84. Kamal Kar
for doing the world's dirty work.
Sanitation expert | India
Kamal Kar spends much of his time thinking about something that many of us would rather not: where and how people poop. It's not pretty, but improving sanitation is one of the most important aspects of overcoming poverty and waterborne diseases such as typhoid and cholera, which kill millions of people every year. That's where Kar, an agricultural scientist by training, comes in. Sanitation is about people, not pipes, he says: "It's not a question of counting toilets." Once toilets and sewers are built, getting communities to use them is often a tougher challenge: for example in Bangladesh, where defecating indoors had been strictly taboo.* He suggests such tactics as giving children whistles to blow whenever they see someone defecating outside -- a sort of constructive peer pressure.
And it works. After Bangladesh adopted Kar's ideas, latrine coverage skyrocketed from just 33 percent in 2003 to more than 70 percent today. Kar's "community-led total sanitation" method is now at work in 39 countries around the world.
85. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
for moving her country away from a troubled past.
President | Liberia
Africa's first elected female head of state, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, came into office in 2006 promising to rebuild Liberia after decades of bloody civil wars. The years since have seen impressive success: Liberia boasts one of Africa's fastest-growing economies, former warlord-president Charles Taylor has been captured and put on trial for war crimes, Sirleaf has appointed women to lead a quarter of her ministries, and the country is beginning to rebuild its battered institutions and infrastructure.
Sirleaf's tenure has not been flawless. Corruption remains endemic, and some of her closest allies have been forced to step down amid ongoing investigations. But as Liberia handles its newfound oil wealth, Sirleaf is gaining the world's trust: "Today we have a very empowered society in which accountability is demanded by the people," she says.
*This article has been updated to fix an editorial error.