Science and war by j bronowski

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science and war by j bronowski

Science & Human Values by Jacob Bronowski

… science has humanized our values. Men have asked for freedom, justice and respect precisely as the scientific spirit has spread among them.

12/11/14 A new section has been added to … but what should I say …

Jacob Bronowski

Jacob Bronowski was born in 1908 in Poland, then part of the Russian Empire. His family moved to Germany during the first world war, then to England when Jacob was twelve years old. Bronowski studied mathematics at Cambridge (Jesus college), where he earned the senior wrangler title for the class of 1930. (view spoiler)[Students at Cambridge who gain a first class degree in math are known as “Wranglers”. The Senior Wrangler is the student who scores the highest overall mark in the Mathematical Tripos, a famously difficult exam that at one time took eight days to complete, and in which the top score was at times less than 50% of the total achievable points. (view spoiler)[See and (hide spoiler)] Senior Wrangler was once regarded as the greatest intellectual achievement attainable in Britain. (hide spoiler)]

Bronowski went on to a career as (it could be argued) a twentieth century polymath - someone who has wide knowledge of many different fields and deep knowledge or abilities in some of them – a so-called “Renaissance Man”. (view spoiler)[With the understanding that by the twentieth century knowledge in most fields had expanded to such a degree, and become so specialized, that a Renaissance Man like Leonardo, Bruno, or even Goethe could no longer really exist. (hide spoiler)]

Wiki cites Bronowski as a mathematician, biologist, historian of science, theatre author, poet and inventor. He was active in operations research during World War II, developing mathematical approaches to bombing strategy for RAF Bomber Command, and was a strong chess player who submitted chess problems to the British Chess magazine through most of his life in Britain. In the 1960s he became one the founding directors of the Salk Institute.

Bronowski is best remembered (by people around my age who do remember him) as the narrator of the 1973 television series The Ascent of Man, a BBC documentary about the rise of civilization and the development of science and the scientific method. He scripted the series and wrote a book by the same name. A year later Bronowski died in East Hampton New York.

The book

Science and Human Values consists of three essays, lectures that Bronowski gave at MIT in early 1953, while he had a Carnegie Professorship there. They were first published in 1956 in a British magazine, and at the end of ‘56 The Nation printed them in the entirety of its final issue of the year. I have a 1965 edition, with a “Preface to the Revised Edition” written by Bronowski in 1964 when he was at the Salk Institute.

In the Preface he says that only minor changes have been made to the lectures since he delivered them eleven years before. He has instead added about nine small-type pages of expository notes, which “fill out some points which have given rise to discussion, and … quote relevant new matter which has appeared since the essays were first printed. (They) amplify my text, and underline it …”. (view spoiler)[These notes are very interesting, and should be read. (hide spoiler)]

(view spoiler)[My edition also contains Bronowski’s The Abacus and the Rose: A New Dialogue on Two World Systems, which he shamelessly compares to Galileo’s Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems. This is “essentially an extended note” discussing the theme “that science is as integral a part of the culture of our age as the arts are” – the theme, in fact, of C.P. Snow’s famous 1959 Rede Lecture The Two Cultures, in which Snow lamented the “gulf between scientists and ‘literary intellectuals’ “, and argued that this estrangement had become a major obstacle in finding solutions to society’s problems.

This dialogue does address the theme in an entertaining, if somewhat silly, manner. It’s not much of an addition to the discussion engendered by Snow’s lecture, and does not appear in the currently in-print edition of the main work being reviewed here. (hide spoiler)]
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Published 31.12.2018

Jacob Bronowski on Science and Art

Science and war

Science And War. Modern war has become a total war. It is a war by all for total destruction. With advance of science war has become horrible. It brings untold sufferings. It causes death by millions. Old war was fought in the battle field alone.

the relations between science and war in the early atomic era. humanism and liberal education: the philosophy of Jacob Bronowski', PhD dissertation.
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Brian Martin's publications on peace and war. Brian Martin's publications on science and society. Brian Martin's publications. Brian Martin's website. Since its earliest days, science has been associated with war. The inventors Archimedes and Leonardo turned their talents to the problems of fighting, and since the rise of modern science many individual scientists have steered their investigations towards military purposes.


  1. Hugolino B. says:

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  2. Eclisorplbiz says:

    Jacob Bronowski - Wikipedia

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