The Heart of the Beat

In the natural world there is eminent proof of a series of patterns - rhythms - synchrony.

In the natural world there is eminent proof of a series of patterns - rhythms - synchrony.

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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.


Participants in the program:


Steven Strogatz, Mathematician, Professor of Applied Mathematics, Cornell University. Author of Sync: The Emerging Science of Spontaneous Order, published by Hyperion, 2008.
Nonlinear Dynamics And Chaos: With Applications to Physics, Biology, Chemistry, and Engineering
, published by Westview Press, 2001.

Philip Ball, Science Writer.
Author of Flow: Natures Patterns: A Tapestry in Three Parts, published by Oxford University, 2009.
The Music Instinct: How Music Works and Why We Can't Do Without It, published by Oxford University Press, 2010.
Branches: Natures Patterns: a tapestry in three parts, published by Oxford University Press, 2009.
Shapes: Natures patterns: a tapestry in three parts, published by Oxford University Press, 2009

Caroline Palmer, Psychologist, Professor, Department of Psychology, McGill University, Director, Sequence Production Lab, McGill University

Charles Spearin, Musician - Broken Social Scene, Do Make Say Think, The Happiness Project.


Special thanks to The Hylozoists and Paul Aucoin for providing music for the show.


Related Websites:

The Heart of the Beat is loosely based on a film of similar material and subject matter called A Simple Rhythm, by Tess Girard. For more information visit her website.

Steven Strogatz' TED talk on Sync







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