Jacob Bronowski

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Jacob Bronowski

Jacob Bronowski (January 18 1908, Lódź, Poland - August 22 1974, East Hampton, New York, USA) was the presenter of the BBC television documentary series, The Ascent of Man which inspired Carl Sagan's Cosmos series.

Bronowski wrote a Ph.D. in algebraic geometry, and was a poet (he lived near to Laura Riding and Robert Graves in Majorca in the 1930s). He spent the war in Operations Research; afterwards he became Director Of Research for the National Coal Board (UK). After his experiences as an official observer of the after-effects of the Nagasaki and Hiroshima bombings he turned to biology, as did his friend, Leo Szilard, to better understand the nature of violence. He was an Associate Director of the Salk Institute from 1964.

Books by Jacob Bronowski

  • The Origins of Knowledge and Imagination
  • The Poet's Defence
  • William Blake and the Age of Revolution ISBN 0710072775 (hardcover) ISBN 0710072783 (pbk.)
  • The Ascent of Man ISBN 0613124634 (the book of the TV series BBC's The Ascent of Man)
  • The Face of Violence
  • The Common Sense of Science
  • Science and Human Values
  • Insight
  • The Identity of Man
  • Nature and Knowledge: The Philosophy of Contemporary Science
  • William Blake, 1757-1827; a man without a mask

Quotes

"I grew up to be indifferent to the distinction between literature and science, which in my teens were simply two languages for experience that I learned together."
"Dissent is the mark of freedom"
"Sooner or later every one of us breathes an atom that has been breathed before by anyone you can think of who has lived before us-Michelangelo or George Washington or Moses."
"It is said that science will dehumanise people and turn them into numbers. That is false, tragically false. Look for yourself. This is the concentration camp and crematorium at Auschwitz. This is where people were turned into numbers. Into this pond were flushed the ashes of some four million people. And that was not done by gas. It was done by arrogance. It was done by dogma. It was done by ignorance. When people believe that they have absolute knowledge, with no test in reality, this is how they behave. This is what men do when they aspire to the knowledge of gods."

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