Jacob Bronowski


Born
in Łódź, Poland
January 18, 1908

Died
August 22, 1974

Genre


Jacob Bronowski was a British mathematician and biologist of Polish-Jewish origin. He is best remembered as the presenter and writer of the 1973 BBC television documentary series, The Ascent of Man.

In 1950, Bronowski was given the Taung child's fossilized skull and asked to try, using his statistical skills, to combine a measure of the size of the skull's teeth with their shape in order to discriminate them from the teeth of apes. Work on this turned his interests towards the human biology of humanity's intellectual products.

In 1967 Bronowski delivered the six Silliman Memorial Lectures at Yale University and chose as his subject the role of imagination and symbolic language in the progress of scientific knowledge. Transcripts of the lectur
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Average rating: 4.17 · 7,395 ratings · 326 reviews · 27 distinct worksSimilar authors
The Ascent of Man

4.18 avg rating — 5,375 ratings — published 1973 — 35 editions
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Science & Human Values

4.15 avg rating — 285 ratings — published 1956 — 11 editions
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The Western Intellectual Tr...

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4.09 avg rating — 192 ratings — published 1960 — 11 editions
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The Origins of Knowledge an...

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4.22 avg rating — 165 ratings — published 1978 — 7 editions
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Common Sense of Science

4.03 avg rating — 101 ratings — published 1951 — 11 editions
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The Identity of Man

4.11 avg rating — 65 ratings — published 1965 — 7 editions
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A Sense of the Future: Essa...

4.34 avg rating — 35 ratings — published 1977 — 3 editions
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William Blake and the Age o...

4.11 avg rating — 35 ratings — published 1972 — 6 editions
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The Visionary Eye: Essays i...

4.40 avg rating — 30 ratings — published 1978 — 3 editions
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Magic Science and Civilization

3.81 avg rating — 21 ratings — published 1978 — 2 editions
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More books by Jacob Bronowski…
“It is important that students bring a certain ragamuffin, barefoot irreverence to their studies; they are not here to worship what is known, but to question it.”
Jacob Bronowski, The Ascent of Man

“It's said that science will dehumanize people and turn them into numbers. That's 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.

Science is a very human form of knowledge. We are always at the brink of the known; we always feel forward for what is to be hoped. Every judgment in science stands on the edge of error and is personal. Science is a tribute to what we can know although we are fallible. In the end, the words were said by Oliver Cromwell: "I beseech you in the bowels of Christ: Think it possible you may be mistaken."

I owe it as a scientist to my friend Leo Szilard, I owe it as a human being to the many members of my family who died here, to stand here as a survivor and a witness. We have to cure ourselves of the itch for absolute knowledge and power. We have to close the distance between the push-button order and the human act. We have to touch people.”
Jacob Bronowski

“Man masters nature not by force, but by understanding”
Jacob Bronowski

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