JB: I wrote a book called the Identity of Man. I never saw the cover of the English edition until the book reached me in print. And yet the artist had understood exactly what was in my mind, by putting on the cover a drawing of the brain and the Mona Lisa, one on top of the other



JACOB BRONOWSKI was a popular philosopher of science in Britain and America. He sought to show how the scientific process had behind it as much of what was characteristic of human thought as had the pursuit of the arts. He identified as an important modern cultural problem the polarizing of science and arts, writing about this before Snow's more famous lectures on the 'two cultures'. He believed that there were genuine values to be found in the sciences: it was perilous to divorce them from the rest of culture. His views were elucidated in a number of books as well as in his regular broadcasting work on radio and television, which began in the nineteen-fifties. His most famous work, the television series Ascent of Man was completed shortly before his death in 1974.

For a television audience this is the work for which he is remembered, and it remains, in broadcasting, a unique view of human history in which both science and the arts are equal demonstrations of humanity.

Enter Chapter 1 'A Sense of the Future'

The Ascent of Jacob Bronowski

Copyright © 2000 by Stephen Moss. All rights reserved.