Today's Birthdays

one click shows all of today's celebrity birthdays

Browse All Birthdays

43,625    Actors
27,931    Actresses
4,867    Composers
7,058    Directors
842    Footballers
221    Racing drivers
925    Singers
9,111    Writers

Get FamousLikeMe on your website
One line of code gets FamousLikeMe on your website. Find out more.

Subscribe to Daily updates

Add to Google

privacy policy

Famous Like Me > Writer > B > Jacob Bronowski

Profile of Jacob Bronowski on Famous Like Me

Name: Jacob Bronowski  
Also Know As:
Date of Birth: 18th January 1908
Place of Birth: Lodz, Poland
Profession: Writer
From Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia
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.

As a student at Jesus College, University of Cambridge he co-edited, with William Empson, the literary periodical Experiment which first appeared in 1928.

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.

He is the father of the British academic Lisa Jardine.

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 BBC TV series The Ascent of Man)
  • The Face of Violence
  • The Common Sense of Science
  • Science and Human Values
  • Insight (the book of the BBC TV series Insight)
  • The Identity of Man
  • Nature and Knowledge: The Philosophy of Contemporary Science
  • William Blake, 1757-1827; a man without a mask
  • The Western Intellectual Tradition
  • A Sense of the Future


"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."
"The Principle of Uncertainty is a bad name. In science--or outside of it--we are not uncertain; our knowledge is merely confined, within a certain tolerance. We should call it the Principle of Tolerance. And I propose that name in two senses: First, in the engineering sense--science has progressed, step by step, the most successful enterprise in the ascent of man, because it has understood that the exchange of information between man and nature, and man and man, can only take place with a certain tolerance. But second, I also use the word, passionately, about the real world. All knowledge--all information between human beings--can only be exchanged within a play of tolerance. And that is true whether the exchange is in science, or in literature, or in religion, or in politics, or in *any* form of thought that aspires to dogma. It's a major tragedy of my lifetime and yours that scientists were refining, to the most exquisite precision, the Principle of Tolerance--and turning their backs on the fact that all around them, tolerance was crashing to the ground beyond repair. The Principle of Uncertainty or, in my phrase, the Principle of Tolerance, fixed once for all the realization that all knowledge is limited. It is an irony of history that at the very time when this was being worked out there should rise, under Hitler in Germany and other tyrants elsewhere, a counter-conception: a principle of monstrous certainty. When the future looks back on the 1930s it will think of them as a crucial confrontation of culture as I have been expounding it, the ascent of man, against the throwback to the despots' belief that they have absolute certainty. It is said that science will dehumanize 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 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." 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." from the Knowledge or Certainty episode from "The Ascent of Man".
"Fifty years from now if an understanding of man's origins, his evolution, his history, his progress is not in the common place of the school books we shall not exist." from The Long Childhood episode from "The Ascent of Man".

This content from Wikipedia is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Jacob Bronowski