Noam Chomsky was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1928. A renowned educator, he has taught at MIT since 1955 and has contributed to the field of linguistics by developing a theory of transformative grammar, often known as "generative grammar." His theory has heavily impacted other fields, such as psycholinguistics in how children acquire language and psychology, in which he challenged the behaviorist theories set out by Skinner and others. His work on the "Chomsky hierarchy," a way of organizing formal grammars, has been cited in such diverse fields as computer science, mathematics, and and medicine.
Chomsky is a very prolific author well-known for writing critiques across many subjects. Other than his work on linguistics, he has broad political interests and his political writings include American Power and the New Mandarins (1969), Peace in the Middle East? (1974), Manufacturing Consent (with E. S. Herman, 1988), Profit over People (1998), and Rogue States (2000). He is a political activist and has strongly criticized the foreign policy of the United States and other governments. He describes himself as a libertarian socialist.
The New York Times has said that "judged in terms of the power, range, novelty, and influence of his thought, Chomsky is arguably the most important intellectual alive." According to the Arts and Humanities Citation Index, between 1980 and 1992 Chomsky was cited as a source more often than any living scholar, and the eighth most cited source overall.