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Sioux Falls Scientists endorse The Ascent of Man for tracing the
development of science from early flint tools and discovery of fire
to the theory of relativity and development of the atomic bomb.

The Ascent of Man
Hosted by Jacob Bronowski

The Ascent of Man (1974) - 676 minutes
The Ascent of Man at Amazon.com

An American Film Festival Award Winner, this 13 volume series attempts a massive survey of science, from flint tools to the theory of relativity. The series, a co-production of the BBC and Time-Life Films was made as a science counterpart to "Civilization". It is given superb technical support, with two crews using innovative filming techniques, shooting in 27 countries.

Dr. Jacob Bronowski makes for an unorthodox narrator, his non-scripted delivery ranging from hushed awe to trembling passion. He uses the crawling infant, the performing athlete, the development of the hunt and the discovery of fire to illustrate the distinctive feature of man: imagination. His Scientific-Humanism is often spectacular, always provocative.

"The series peels back layers of history, invention, science, and archaeology to investigate the great paradox of the human species,' ...this 13-title series withstands the test of time and is an excellent resource for high-school and college students." - Booklist

  • Volume 1: Lower Than Angels
    A multitude of evolutionary changes - anatomical and intellectual - gives rise to man's superiority among the animals. New computer techniques illustrate humanity's evolution, while x-ray and slow motion photography of an Olympic athlete in action show the complex interweaving of mind and body.
  • Volume 2: Harvest of the Seasons
    Man domesticates plant and animal life. With the Neolithic cultivators come the nomads and the roots of warfare. Cameras capture the unique lifestyle of the Bakhtiari tribe of central Iran and there recreate the war games of Genghis Khan.
  • Volume 3: Grain in the Stone
    Man splits a stone and reassembles the pieces to build a wall, a cathedral, a city. From the Greek temples of Paestum and the cathedrals of medieval France to modern Los Angeles, this film expresses humanity's faith and fancy as architect and builder.
  • Volume 4: The Hidden Structure
    The Shang bronze craftsmen of China and the Samurai swordsmith of Japan are the starting point of this journey, which leads from the beginnings of chemistry to Dalton's atomic theory and our knowledge of the elements.
  • Volume 5: Music of the Spheres
    Traces the evolution of mathematics and explores the relationship of numbers to musical harmony, early astronomy and perspective in painting. It follows the spread of Greek ideas through the courts and bazaars of the Islamic Empire to Moorish Spain and Renaissance Europe.
  • Volume 6: Starry Messenger
    Here is the story of early attempts to map the forces that move the planets. Dr. Bronowski traces the origins of the scientific revolution through the conflict between fact and religious dogma, culminating in the trial of Galileo.
  • Volume 7: Majestic Clockwork
    In the evolution of physics, the contributions of Newton and Einstein occupy center stage. This film explores the revolution that ensued when Einstein's theory upset Newton's elegant description of the universe.
  • Volume 8: Drive For Power
    Industrial and political revolutions altered concepts of power during the 18th century. Dr. Bronowski shows why these developments were as significant as the Renaissance in our progress.
  • Volume 9: Ladder of Creation
    Journey from the valleys and waterfalls of Wales to the jungles of the Amazon to explore the controversy swirling around a startling new theory of evolution developed simultaneously by Alfred Wallace and Charles Darwin.
  • Volume 10: World Within World
    Commencing with a visit to an ancient Polish salt mine, Dr. Bronowski looks at the world inside the atom, tracing the history of ideas that have made 20th century physics "the greatest achievement of the human imagination."
  • Volume 11: Knowledge or Certainty
    Dr. Bronowski offers his personal view of the moral dilemma that confronts today's scientists, contrasting humanist traditions with the inhumanities of the Nazis, the harnessing of nuclear energy with the development of the atomic bomb.
  • Volume 12: Generation Upon Generation
    This program examines the complex code of human inheritance - from the experiments of pioneer geneticist Gregor Mendel to the discoveries of today's sophisticated laboratories.
  • Volume 13: Long Childhood
    In this closing film, Dr. Bronowski draws together the many threads of the series as he takes stock of humanity's complex and sometimes precarious ascent.

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The Ascent of Man
Hosted by Jacob Bronowski

Sioux Falls Scientists endorse The Ascent of Man for tracing the
development of science from early flint tools and discovery of fire
to the theory of relativity and development of the atomic bomb.