Seymour Martin Lipset was a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and the Hazel Professor of Public Policy at George Mason University until 2006. He passed away on Dec. 31, 2006. Previously he was the Caroline S.G. Munro Professor of Political Science and Sociology at Stanford University (1975–90) and the George D. Markham Professor of Government and Sociology at Harvard University.
His major work was in the fields of political sociology, trade union organization, social stratification, public opinion, and the sociology of intellectual life. He wrote extensively about the conditions for democracy in comparative perspective.
Here's a great piece about his background and career here at the NY Times, and here at the Economist, "Seymour Martin Lipset devoted his life to explaining why America is different".Also, check out the Guardian , its definately worth the read. If you haven't read any Lipset yet, you certainly will.