The Ascent of Man

The Ascent of Man

Paperback(New Edition)

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A new paperback edition of Dr. Bronowski's classic history of humankind, with a foreword by Richard Dawkins

Dr. Jacob Bronowksi's classic traces the development of human society through our understanding of science. First published in 1973 to accompany the groundbreaking BBC television series, it is considered one of the first works of "popular science," illuminating the historical and social context of scientific development for a generation of readers. In his highly accessible style, Dr. Bronowski discusses human invention from the flint tool to geometry, agriculture to genetics, and from alchemy to the theory of relativity, showing how they all are expressions of our ability to understand and control nature. In this new paperback edition, The Ascent of Man inspires, influences, and informs as profoundly as ever.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781849901154
Publisher: B B C Worldwide Americas
Publication date: 04/01/2013
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 285,992
Product dimensions: 4.90(w) x 7.70(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Jacob Bronowski (1908–1974) was a mathematician, biologist, science historian, and author. His other well-known works include The Origins of Knowledge and Imagination and The Western Intellectual Tradition, From Leonardo to Hegel. Richard Dawkins is the author of The God Delusion and The Selfish Gene.

Table of Contents

Foreword 13(6)
Chapter 1 Lower than the Angels Animal adaptation -- The human alternative -- Beginning in Africa -- Fossil evidence -- The gift of foresight -- Evolution of the head -- The mosaic of man -- The cultures of the hunter -- Across the ice ages -- Transhumance cultures: the Lapps -- Imagination in cave art.
Chapter 2 The Harvest of the Seasons The pace of cultural evolution -- Nomad cultures: the Bakhtiari -- Beginnings of agriculture: wheat -- Jericho -- Earthquake country -- Technology in the village -- The wheel -- Domestication of animals: the horse -- War games: Buz Kashi -- Settled civilisation.
Chapter 3 The Grain in the Stone Coming to the New World -- Blood group evidence of migrations -- The actions of shaping and splitting -- Structure and hierarchy -- The city: Machu Picchu -- Straight-edge architecture: Paestum -- The Roman arch: Segovia -- The Gothic adventure: Rheims -- Science as architecture -- The hidden figure: Michelangelo to Moore -- Pleasure in construction -- Below the visible.
Chapter 4 The Hidden Structure Fire, the transforming element -- Extraction of metals: copper -- The structure of alloys -- Bronze as a work of art -- Iron to steel: the Japanese sword -- Gold -- The incorruptible -- Alchemical theory of man and nature -- Paracelsus and the coming of chemistry -- Fire and air: Joseph Priestley -- Antoine Lavoisier: combination can be quantified -- John Dalton's atomic theory.
Chapter 5 The Music of the Spheres The language of numbers -- The key to harmony: Pythagoras -- The right-angled triangle -- Euclid and Ptolemy at Alexandria -- Rise of Islam -- Arabic numbers -- The Alhambra: patterns of space -- Crystal symmetries -- Perspective from Alhazen -- Movement in time, the new dynamic -- The mathematics of change.
Chapter 6 The Starry Messenger The cycle of seasons -- The unmapped sky: Easter Island -- Ptolemy's system in the Dondi Clock -- Copernicus: the sun as centre -- The telescope -- Galileo opens the scientific method -- Prohibition of the Copernican system -- Dialogue on the two systems -- The Inquisition -- Galileo recants -- The Scientific Revolution moves north.
Chapter 7 The Majestic Clockwork Kepler's laws -- The centre of the world -- Isaac Newton's innovations: fluxions -- Unfolding the spectrum -- Gravitation and the Principia -- The intellectual dictator -- Challenge in satire -- Newton's absolute space -- Absolute time -- Albert Einstein -- The traveller carries his own space and time -- Relativity is proved -- The new philosophy.
Chapter 8 The Drive for Power The English revolution -- Everyday technology: James Brindley -- The revolt against privilege: Figaro -- Benjamin Franklin and the American revolution -- The new men: masters of iron -- The new outlook: Wedgwood and the Lunar society -- The driving factory -- The new preoccupation: energy -- The cornucopia of invention -- The unity of nature.
Chapter 9 The Ladder of Creation The naturalists -- Charles Darwin -- Alfred Wallace -- Impact of South America -- The wealth of species -- Wallace loses his collection -- Natural selection conceived -- The continuity of evolution -- Louis Pasteur: right hand, left hand -- Chemical constants in evolution -- The origin of life -- The four bases -- Are other forms of life possible?
Chapter 10 World Within World The cube of salt -- Its elements -- Mendeleev's game of patience -- The periodic table -- J.J. Thomson: the atom has parts -- Structure in new art -- Structure in the atom: Rutherford and Niels Bohr -- The life cycle of a theory -- The nucleus has parts -- The neutron: Chadwick and Fermi -- Evolution of the elements -- The second law as statistics -- Stratified stability -- Copying the physics of nature -- Ludwig Boltzmann: atoms are real.
Chapter 11 Knowledge or Certainty There is no absolute knowledge -- The spectrum of invisible radiations -- The refinement of detail -- Gauss and the idea of uncertainty -- The sub-structure of reality: Max Born -- Heisenberg's principle of uncertainty -- The principle of tolerance: Leo Szilard -- Science is human.
Chapter 12 Generation upon Generation The voice of insurrection -- The kitchen garden naturalist: Gregor Mendel -- Genetics of the pea -- Instant oblivion -- An all-or-nothing model of inheritance -- The magic number two: sex -- Crick and Watson's model of DNA -- Replication and growth -- Cloning of identical forms -- Sexual choice in human diversity.
Chapter 13 The Long Childhood Man, the social solitary -- Human specificity -- Specific development of the brain -- Precision of the hand -- The speech areas -- The postponement of decision -- The mind as an instrument of preparation -- The democracy of the intellect -- The moral imagination -- The brain and the computer: John von Neumann -- The strategy of values -- Knowledge is our destiny -- The commitment of man.
Bibliography 440(3)
Index 443

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