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Saturday, December 1, 2007

The Ascent of Man

Jacob Bronowski: A mathematician turned biologist

An IMDB user wrote about The Ascent of Man:
This remarkable series, thirteen fifty-minute episodes, is one of television's highest achievements. Jacob Bronowski takes the viewer literally around the world, to discuss Mankind's greatest accomplishments and lowest depths. One outstanding quality of this extraordinary series is that Bronowski speaks to the viewer directly, in a very personal fashion, through the lense of the camera.

The book, that derives from the episodes themselves, is a virtual transcript of Bronowski's remarks. These are not "lectures', but rather discussions presenting his "personal view." The episodes are sprinkled with delightful and moving anecdotes of people Bronowski knew and worked with, such as Leo Szilard (who first thought of the nuclear "chain reaction") and John von Neumann (the "Father of Electrionic Computing").

Anyone interested in the history of science - and of thought in general - will be astonished, delighted and deeply moved by "The Ascent of Man." The production value is of the highest order throughout.

Highest recommendation.

- Museum of Broadcasting
- Digitally Remastered series on DVD

Many years ago when I was a school dropout without any qualification whatsoever I thought there was nothing interesting to learn. This series is part of what brought me back on track. I thought about it many times. I wanted to see it again just to check if I still like it, if it still makes an impression. I couldn't find it for many years because I was forgotten the series name, even Bronowski's name. But I wasn't forgotten Bronowski's face, voice and the way he lectures. I found the series by accident. It's on internet if you know where to look. I have episodes 1 to 8 and 9 to 13 soon. Sofar I have seen episode 1. Yes. It is great television. Well worth the time.

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