Last April 28, I had the pleasure of hearing my good friend Robert Merton, the eminent sociologist and historian of science, deliver the American Council of Learned Societies' 1994 Haskins Lecture. The talk, presented at the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia, centered on Bob's "life of learning"-- the subject addressed each year by a notable "humanist" invited by ACLS to deliver the prestigious lecture.

As Bob spoke about his boyhood in Philadelphia, his coming of age as a young Harvard intellectual, and the factors that fueled his preoccupation with the history of science and the behavior of scientists, I was touched by a variety of emotions. As often during the 30 years or so that I've known him, I was fascinated by his capacious intellect and his knack for originating concepts and expressing them in clear, evocative terms. (Whether writing or speaking, he knows how to hold his audience.) I...

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