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American Sociological Association: Paul Lazarsfeld
Paul F. Lazarsfeld
February 13, 1901 - August 30, 1976
Paul F. Lazarsfeld was born in Vienna, Austria on February 13, 1901, the son of Robert Lazarsfeld, a lawyer, and Sofie Munk, a psychotherapist. He earned a doctoral degree in mathematics from the University of Vienna in 1925. In his dissertation he applied Albert Einstein's theory of gravitation to the movement of the planet Mercury.
But mathematics was not to hold his attention for long. Lazarsfeld's true interests soon became the development of social research methodology and the establishment of institutes for training and research in the social sciences.
In 1933 Lazarsfeld moved to the United States for a Rockefeller Fellowship. At the University of Newark he established a small social research center. When his project was moved to Columbia University in 1940, Lazarsfeld went with it, remaining at Columbia until his retirement in 1969.
Lazarsfeld was elected to serve as the 52nd President of the American Sociological Association. His Presidential Address, entitled "The Sociology of Empirical Social Research," was delivered on September 1, 1962 at the Association's Annual Meeting in Washington, DC. His address was later published in December 1962 issue of American Sociological Review (ASR Vol. 27 No. 6 pp 757-767 ).