In 1973, thanks to a 13-part television series on BBC2, he had become one of the world’s most celebrated intellectuals, and by the late summer of 1974 he was dead.
Ultimately, his journey leads him “through the gateway of the atom … in a world which our senses cannot experience. There is a new architecture here, a way that things are put together which we cannot know: we only try to picture it by analogy, a new act of imagination.”
And the Bronowski imagination dances on, leading us to new insights: he talks about the fabrication of the 92 elements through stellar fusion from the universal raw material of hydrogen and pauses, just for a moment, to contemplate carbon “formed in a star whenever three helium nuclei collide at one spot within less than a million millionth of a second. Every carbon atom in every living creature has been formed by such a wildly improbable collision.”
The 13 part series can all be watched on Youtube, beginning with episode one: The Ascent of Man : Lower Than The Angels.
Note: Bronowski seems to be referring above to the triple-alpha process of helium fusion into carbon