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Recognition for Hull 'humanist hero' Jacob Bronowski
Jacob Bronowski
Jacob Bronowski lived in Cottingham and taught mathematics in Hull during the 1930s

A campaign is underway to recognise the former University of Hull lecturer who has been described as a humanist, polymath and all-round Renaissance man.

The Ascent of Man was one of the big blockbuster documentary series made by BBC television in the early 1970s.

Its author and presenter was a small, slightly bemused man with a Polish accent by the name of Jacob Bronowski.

Bronowski was an academic who lived in Cottingham and taught mathematics in Hull between 1934 and 1942.

Now a campaign is underway to have his connection with the city recognised.

The British Humanist Association are running a national heritage project celebrating the history of humanism and its notable figures as part of Humanist Week, which runs between Monday 21 and Friday 27 June 2010.

Tim Stephenson of the Hull and East Riding Humanist Group says the late mathematician and biologist deserves special recognition for his contribution to humanism and science.

Dr Jacob Bronowski at Cleopatra’s Needle, taken from series 'The Ascent of Man'
'The Ascent of Man' was a journey into the history of science

"The British Humanist Association invited local groups to submit articles about the humanists that inspired them personally and for us the scientist and broadcaster, Jacob Bronowski, was the obvious choice because of his little known association with Hull and the East Riding."

"He certainly inspired many humanists including the American, Carl Sagan, who went on to make the TV series, Cosmos, which I watched as a child.

"He was a towering figure in British intellectual life," added Mr Stephenson.

According to the group, the campaign is being supported by Bronowski's daughter Professor Lisa Jardine, an academic and broadcaster who has recently completed a BBC television documentary about her father's work during the Second World War.

Diaries kept by Bronowski, which were later discovered by his daughter, showed the late mathematician had moved to Hull in 1934 and lived at several different addresses in the city.

The group are hoping to erect a commemorative blue plaque at one of his former homes.

"I've started approaching local civic societies and local history societies who would like to get involved with this," said Mr Stephenson.

"It's two years since the centenary of his birth and yet ... he's not really been recognised in the city."

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