About Noam Chomsky


Noam Chomsky, who joined the UA faculty in fall 2017, is a laureate professor in the Department of Linguistics in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. He is also the Agnese Nelms Haury Chair in the Agnese Nelms Haury Program in Environment and Social Justice.

Considered the founder of modern linguistics, Noam Chomsky is one of the most cited scholars in modern history. Among his groundbreaking books are Syntactic Structures, Language and MindAspects of the Theory of Syntax, and The Minimalist Program, each of which has made distinct contributions to the development of the field.

Chomsky is credited with revolutionizing the linguistics field by introducing the Chomsky hierarchy, generative grammar and the concept of a universal grammar, which underlies all human speech and is based in the innate structure of the mind/brain.

Chomsky's work also has influenced the fields of cognitive science, philosophy, psychology, computer science, mathematics, childhood education and anthropology. Applications of his work can be found in everyday life. He formulated the algorithm "context-free grammar," which is part of most computer programming languages, as well as programs that appear to understand language, such as Siri. He also has challenged traditional notions of learning, emphasizing how much knowledge and behavior is "built in" to the child’s brain.

One of the most influential public intellectuals in the world, Chomsky has been the subject of seven biographies, has been interviewed countless times in popular media, and has appeared in over 20 films and documentaries.

An ardent free speech advocate, Chomsky is famous for his political commentary and has published and lectured widely on U.S. foreign policy, Mideast politics, democratic society, and war. He has written more than 100 books, including “Requiem for the American Dream: The 10 Principles of Concentration of Wealth & Power” and "Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media."

Chomsky has received numerous awards, including the Kyoto Prize in Basic Sciences, the Helmholtz Medal, the Ben Franklin Medal in Computer and Cognitive Science, and the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in the Humanities and Social Sciences.

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