News - October 2012

Discover what links Hull to the 'ascent of man'

26 October 2012

Come and find out how the British secret service MI5 kept a University lecturer under surveillance – believing he was a security risk.

Jacob BronowskiThe University of Hull will host the inaugural Jacob Bronowski lecture on Monday 29 October. The lecture entitled: ’A skilful speaker and agitator of the Communist intellectual type: exploring Jacob Bronowski’s wartime MI5 file’, will be delivered by Professor Lisa Jardine CBE, who is Jacob Bronowski’s daughter and an eminent scholar in her own right.

Above: Jacob Bronowski

In her lecture, Prof Jardine will speak about the unsettling recent revelation that Dr Bronowski was considered a ‘security risk’ by MI5.

Dr Bronowski is best remembered as the presenter and writer of the big blockbuster 1973 BBC television documentary series, The Ascent of Man, and the accompanying book. The series was commissioned by David Attenborough, the then controller of BBC Two and following its broadcast, Dr Bronowski became one of the world's most celebrated intellectuals. Central to his intellectual concerns was the relation between science and its wider cultural context, particularly the arts.

During the making of The Ascent of Man, Bronowski was interviewed by the popular British chat show host Michael Parkinson. Parkinson later recounted that Bronowski's description of a visit to Auschwitz - Bronowski had lost many family members during the Nazi era - was one of Parkinson's most memorable interviews.

The annual Jacob Bronowski Lecture will be given by a distinguished academic or public figure and addresses issues which were at the heart of Jacob Bronowski's own work. The lecture series honours the fact that Dr Bronowski’s first academic job was at University College, Hull.

Dr Stephen Burwood, Head of Humanities at the University of Hull said “We are very pleased to have Prof Jardine come and give the first of the Jacob Bronowski Lectures. It is both gratifying and right that Dr. Bronowski’s contribution to the intellectual heritage of the University and the City of Hull has been recognised.”

A commemorative blue heritage plaque is also due to be unveiled by Prof Jardine at 2.30pm on Monday 29 October at Bronowski’s former address at 29 Hallgate, Cottingham.

The Lecture will take place on Monday 29 October at Middleton Hall, Hull Campus, starting at 6pm. Admission is free and all are welcome.

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