Frasi di John Desmond Bernal

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John Desmond Bernal

Data di nascita: 10. Maggio 1901
Data di morte: 15. Settembre 1971


John Desmond Bernal è stato uno scienziato britannico. È stato uno dei pionieri della diffrazione dei raggi X e della biologia molecolare.

Frasi John Desmond Bernal


„One of the questions on which clarity of thinking is now most necessary is that of the relation between the methods of science and of Marxist philosophy. Although much has already been written on the subject, yet there is still an enormous amount of confusion and contradictory statement.“

— John Desmond Bernal
J.D. Bernal (1937) "Dialectical Materialism and Modern Science" in: Science and Society, Volume II, No. 1, Winter 1937; Online ([ here]) on Marxists Internet Archive (2002).

„World Encyclopaedia. -- Behind these lies another prospect of greater and more permanent importance; that of an attempt at a comprehensive and continually revised presentation of the whole of science in its social context, an idea most persuasively put forward by H. G. Wells in his appeal for a World Encyclopaedia of which he has already given us a foretaste in his celebrated outlines. The encyclopaedic movement was a great rallying point of the liberal revolution of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The real encyclopaedia should not be what the Encyclopaedia Britannica has degenerated into, a mere mass of unrelated knowledge sold by high-pressure salesmanship, but a coherent expression of the living and changing body of thought; it should sum up what is for the moment the spirit of the age...
The original French Encyclopaedia which did attempt these things was, however, made in the period of relative quiet when the forces of liberation were gathering ready to break their bonds. We have already entered the second period of revolutionary struggle and the quiet thought necessary to make such an effort will not be easy to find, but some effort is worth making because the combined assault on science and humanity by the forces of barbarism has against it, as yet, no general and coherent statement on the part of those who believe in democracy and the need for the people of the world to take over the active control of production and administration for their own safety and welfare.“

— John Desmond Bernal
p. 306-307. Chapter SCIENTIFIC COMMUNICATION. The Function of Scientific Publication. See also World Brain


„At different stages in the educational process different changes are required. In schools the chief need is for a general change in the attitude towards science, which should be from the beginning an integral part and not a mere addition, often an optional addition, to the curriculum. Science should be taught not merely as a subject but should come into all subjects. Its importance in history and in modern life should be pointed out and illustrated. The old contrast, often amounting to hostility, between scientific and humane subjects need to be broken down and replaced by a scientific humanism. At the same time, the teaching of science proper requires to be humanized. The dry and factual presentation requires to be transformed, not by any appeal to mystical theory, but by emphasizing the living and dramatic character of scientific advance itself. Here the teaching of the history of science, not isolated as at present, but in close relation to general history teaching, would serve to correct the existing atmosphere of scientific dogmatism. It would show at the same time how secure are the conquests of science in the control they give over natural processes and how insecure and provisional, however necessary, are the rational interpretations, the theories and hypotheses put forward at each stage. Past history by itself is not enough, the latest developments of science should not be excluded because they have not yet passed the test of time. It is absolutely necessary to emphasize the fact that science not only has changed but is continually changing, that it is an activity and not merely a body of facts. Throughout, the social implications of science, the powers that it puts into men's hands, the uses they could make of them and those which they in fact do, should be brought out and made real by a reference to immediate experience of ordinary life.“

— John Desmond Bernal
p. 246 : How such a method of teaching could become an integral part of general education is sketched by H. G. Wells' British Association address, "The Informative Content of Education," reprinted in World Brain (Mathuen, 1938).

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