Tag Archives: Bruno

Bruno’s tunes

Regular readers of this blog — to the extent that such people exist — know of my admiration for Dr. Jacob Bronowski, still best known for his magnificent BBC series The Ascent of Man. While doing some research, I came across this January 1974 entry in the BBC’s Desert Island Discs program, in which Bruno listed eight records he would take with him for castaway duty. Bronowski was a formidable polymath but he often joked that music was a language in which he stuttered. Despite all that, his list is intriguing: Winterreise alongside The Threepenny Opera, Ewan MacColl rubbing elbows with Marlene Dietrich, Benjamin Britten playing next to Tom Lehrer. Of course, Lehrer and Bronowski were both mathematicians; when you hear Bronowski’s remarks about the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, you’ll realize the two men shared other qualities as well. 

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January is Bruno’s month

January 18 is the birthday of philosopher Jacob Bronowski. This is “Knowledge or Certainty,” one of the most powerful essays in his grand series The Ascent of Man. The dominance of our politics by a rising tide of deeply convinced idiots, led by the phalanx of teabaggers now in government, makes his message more timely than ever.

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