Nathan Rosenberg (1927-2015) passed away on August 24th. When I was in graduate school, Rosenberg and Birdzell published their popular study, How the West Grew Rich (1986). The book had a profound impact on me both for its presentation of alternative hypotheses, and its interpretation of the historical facts. It is through this work that my interests shifted from primarily the battle between socialism and liberalism, to the broader questions of economic history and development. This work wasn't representative of Rosenberg's technical contributions to economic change, but it was a masterpiece of putting all the pieces together into a bigger picture. The upshot, to paraphrase McCloskey -- Smith 1, Marx 0.
But Rosenberg was a brilliant historian of technological change and innovation. Here is a very insightful appreciation of his work by Richard Langlois.
Nathan Rosenberg was a masterful economist -- he thought clearly, and he wrote clearly. I expect we will continue to learn from his clear thinking for generations to come.