Robert K. Merton
Robert K. Merton

Celebrity Profile

Name: Robert K. Merton
Occupation: Sociologist
Gender: Male
Birth Day: July 4, 1910
Death Date: Feb 23, 2003 (age 92)
Age: Aged 92
Country: United States
Zodiac Sign: Cancer

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Robert K. Merton

Robert K. Merton was born on July 4, 1910 in United States (92 years old). Robert K. Merton is a Sociologist, zodiac sign: Cancer. Find out Robert K. Mertonnet worth 2020, salary 2020 detail bellow.


Looking into the social structure of the U.S., he found that when group don't have the opportunity to achieve the 'American dream,' the result can be criminal behavior.

Does Robert K. Merton Dead or Alive?

As per our current Database, Robert K. Merton died on Feb 23, 2003 (age 92).

Net Worth

Net Worth 2020


Salary 2020

Not known

Before Fame

One of his works was on the sociology of science, which focused on Purtian society and their relationship to science.

Biography Timeline


Robert King Merton was born on 4 July 1910 in Philadelphia as Meyer Robert Schkolnick into a family of Yiddish-speaking Russian Jews who had immigrated to the United States in 1904. His mother was Ida Rasovskaya, an "unsynagogued" socialist who had freethinking radical sympathies. His father was Aaron Schkolnickoff, a tailor who had officially been registered at port of entry to the United States as "Harrie Skolnick". Merton's family lived in straitened circumstances after his father's uninsured dairy-product shop in South Philadelphia burned down. His father later became a carpenter's assistant to support the family.


In 1934 Merton married Suzanne Carhart, with whom he had one son, Robert C. Merton, winner of the 1997 Nobel Prize in economics, and two daughters, Stephanie Merton Tombrello and Vanessa Merton, a professor of law at Pace University School of Law. Merton and Carhart separated in 1968, and she died in 1992.


According to Merton, unanticipated consequences are actions that have both intended and unintended consequences. Everyone is aware of the intended consequences, but the unintended are more difficult to recognize, and therefore, sociological analysis is required to uncover what they may be. In his 1936 essay, "The Unanticipated Consequences of Social Action", Merton uncovered the wide field of human activity where things do not go as planned, and paradoxes and strange outcomes are seen. One of these outcomes is the "self-defeating prophecy", which through the very fact of its being publicized, is actually wrong. Merton was able to illustrate this by referencing Karl Marx's prediction that as societies become more modern, the wealth will be concentrated amongst fewer people, and the majority of society would suffer from poverty and misery. This prediction helped to stimulate the socialist movement, which in some countries slowed the development that Marx had predicted. Struggles for economic equality tend to spread economic benefit rather than concentrating it. The opposite of the "self-defeating prophecy" then, is the "self-fulfilling prophecy", when an originally unfounded prophecy turns out to be correct because it is believed and acted upon.


By the end of his student career in 1938, he had already begun to embark on works that made him renowned in the sociological field, publishing his first major study, Science, Technology, and Society in Seventeenth-Century England, which helped create the sociology of science. Merton's dissertation committee was composed of Sorokin, but also Talcott Parsons, the historian George Sarton, and the biochemist Lawrence Joseph Henderson. The Merton thesis—similar to Max Weber's famous claim on the link between Protestant ethic and the capitalist economy—proposes a positive correlation between the rise of Protestant Pietism, Puritanism and early experimental science.


Merton taught at Harvard until 1938, when he became professor and chairman of the Department of Sociology at Tulane University. In 1941, he joined the Columbia University faculty, where he spent the vast majority of his teaching career. Over his five decades at Columbia University he held numerous prestigious titles. He was associate director of the university's Bureau of Applied Social Research from 1942 to 1971, and named Giddings Professor of Sociology in 1963. He was also named to the university's highest academic rank, University Professor, in 1974 and became a Special Service Professor, a title reserved by the trustees for emeritus faculty who "render special services to the University," upon his retirement in 1979. He was an adjunct faculty member at Rockefeller University, and was also the first Foundation Scholar at the Russell Sage Foundation. He withdrew from teaching in 1984. In recognition of his lasting contributions to scholarship and the university, Columbia established the Robert K. Merton Professorship in the Social Sciences in 1990.


The "OS" in "CUDOS" is sometimes identified as "Originality" (i.e. novelty in research contributions) and "Skepticism". This is a subsequent modification of Merton's norm set, as he did not refer to Originality in the 1942 essay that introduced the norms, "The Normative Structure of Science".


He received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1962 and was the first sociologist to be named a MacArthur Fellow (1983–1988). More than twenty universities awarded him honorary degrees, including: Harvard, Yale, Columbia, and Chicago University in the US; and, abroad, the Universities of Leiden, Wales, Oslo, Kraków, Oxford, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.


In 1993 Merton married his fellow sociologist and collaborator, Harriet Zuckerman. On 23 February 2003, aged 92, Merton died in Manhattan, survived by his wife, three children, nine grandchildren, and nine great-grandchildren.


Even though Merton grew up fairly poor, he believed that he had been afforded many opportunities. As a student at South Philadelphia High School, he was a frequent visitor to nearby cultural and educational venues, including the Andrew Carnegie Library, the Academy of Music, the Central Library, and the Museum of Arts. In 1994, Merton stated that growing up in South Philadelphia provided young people with "every sort of capital—social capital, cultural capital, human capital, and, above all, what we may call public capital—that is, with every sort of capital except the personally financial."

In 1994 Merton became the first sociologist to be awarded the US National Medal of Science, for "founding the sociology of science and for his pioneering contributions to the study of social life, especially the self-fulfilling prophecy and the unintended consequences of social action."

Family Life

Robert grew up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, into a working class immigrant family from Easter Europe.

🎂 Upcoming Birthday

Currently, Robert K. Merton is 111 years, 5 months and 3 days old. Robert K. Merton will celebrate 112th birthday on a Monday 4th of July 2022. Below we countdown to Robert K. Merton upcoming birthday.


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