The Heart of the Beat

As a faithful listener to public broadcasting, and especially our local NPR station, WBEZ-FM, I have had my share of “driveway moments”–when I become so engrossed in an unexpected story that I stop what I was doing to continue listening. I often turn on the radio in the kitchen while I’m cooking or doing dishes. More often than not, it’s in the middle of a program or story.

Tonight I stumbled on an episode of the Canadian Broadcasting program, “Ideas.” I’ve heard it a few times, mostly by chance, and have usually found it interesting. The 1 July program on synchrony was enthralling. (Merriam-Webster defines “synchrony” as “a state in which things happen, move, or exist at the same time.”)

The CBC website summarized it this way:

What is it about rhythm, pattern, and synchronization that fascinate us? How do pacemaker cells in a heart synchronize? How can thousands of people unconsciously walk in step? There are so many recurring patterns in nature like ripples in sand and the stripes of a zebra. In speaking with musicians, mathematicians, and psychologists, filmmaker Tess Girard explores the idea of rhythm and what it means to us.

You can listen to the hour-long program from the website above or download a podcast from this page. I highly recommend it.


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