The first incumbent of the Robert K. Merton Professorship of the Social Sciences, Jon Elster, right, and Thomas Sobol, Distinguished Visiting Professor at Teachers College in the department of educational administration, were welcomed at an Oct. 5 luncheon for new faculty at Faculty House. Elster joins Columbia from the University of Chicago, where he was the Edward L. Ryerson Distinguished Service Professor. His nine books and more than 100 articles and reviews draw on a wide range of scholarly disciplines--history, philosophy, law, social and political science--to explain political behavior. "How appropriate, then," noted University Professor Emeritus Robert Merton in welcoming him, "that, though located in the department of political science, Professor Elster should be occupying a Columbia chair of social science." Sobol was New York State Commissioner of Education and president of the University of the State of New York from 1987 until this year. His appointment part of an effort to bring prominent educational practitioners to TC classrooms.