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Science and Human Values was originally a lecture by Jacob Bronowski at MIT in 1953. Published five years later, it opens unforgettably with Bronowski’s description of Nagasaki in 1945: ‘a bare waste of ashes’, making him acutely aware of science’s power both for good and for evil.
After such knowledge, what forgiveness? With care and erudition Bronowski argues that scientific endeavour is an essentially creative act, part of a great shared human interest in ourselves and the world around us; and, routinely, a process of trial-and-error, the end of which is not – cannot be – preordained.
‘Above all, Bronowski strove to make science and technology answerable to social progress, to ‘human values.’ He anticipated the deepening gap between the ‘two cultures’ and knew that the sciences must be restored to a place in political common sense.’ George Steiner
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