Professor of economics, Harvard University
Rank change: New
Fryer, an economist who studies race and education, is the youngest African American to ever receive tenure at Harvard (he was 30 at the time), but his résumé belies his age: He has published papers with Freakonomics author Steven Levitt, is a research fellow at the recession-calling National Bureau of Economic Research, and in 2008 launched the Education Innovation Laboratory at Harvard, which gets $6 million in funding a year to research ways to improve public schools.
Hot-button issue: Fryer recently completed a controversial study involving paying kids to get good grades.
NEXT: 39. Carolyn Everson
Last updated October 14 2010: 1:25 PM ET