Bronowski, Jacob

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BRONOWSKI, JACOB (1908–1974), British mathematician, philosopher, and writer. Bronowski was born in Poland, and went to England at the age of 12. He was educated at Cambridge and from 1934 to 1942 lectured in mathematics at the University College of Hull. During World War ii, he was sent to Washington to work on the Joint Target Group and served as a member of the chiefs of staff mission to Japan in 1945–46. In 1948–49 he was unesco's Head of Projects and from 1950 headed the Coal Research establishment of the National Coal Board. In 1964 he became a senior fellow and deputy director of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and settled in the United States.

He became an authority on the poet William Blake; his books on this subject include William Blake, a Man without a Mask (1944). Bronowski also wrote a number of experimental radio plays, of which Face of Violence won the international Italia Prize for 1951. His philosophical appraisal of the history of ideas appears in The Western Intellectual Tradition (1960). The urgency of the need for the scientist and the humanist to understand each other's language became his preoccupation from the 1950s onward. His works in this field include The Common Sense of Science (1951) and Science and Human Values (1958).

During his later years Bronowski attained fame as a leading popular exponent of the philosophical basis of scientific research, which reached its climax in a 13-part television series done for the British Broadcasting Corporation entitled "The Ascent of Man." The filming of the series took place from July 1971 to December 1972, and was first broadcast between May and July 1973. The book of the same name, based on the series, was a best-seller. Bronowski also published William Blake and the Age of Revolution (1972). Two books of his essays edited by Pierro E. Ariotten in collaboration with Rita Bronowski have also appeared: A Sense of the Future: Essays in Natural Philosophy and The Visionary Eye: Essays in the Arts, Literature, and Sciences.

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[George H. Fried]

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Bronowski, Jacob

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