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The Sound of Science - 'Questions of the Heart'

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The NIU STEAM Sound of Science lab takes a journey to the center of the heart.

Jasmine: Hi, I'm Jasmine.

Chrissy: And I'm Chrissy.

Jasmine: We're from NIU STEAM and...

Chrissy: This is the Sound of Science on WNIJ.

Chrissy: With Valentine's Day coming up, we've had a couple of questions come in about how the heart came to be associated with love and why we use the shape we do to symbolize love.

Jasmine: In various places throughout history, the heart has been anatomically associated as the part of the body that experiences strong emotions like love. When someone we strongly care about is around, your heart may beat faster, there is a warm sensation in the chest, and you might feel butterflies. These emotions are all generally felt within the area of where our heart sits in our

Chrissy: The ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans believed that emotions were the window to a person's soul. The soul was seen as a human's center, sharing space with the heart, and together they were the source of a person's vitality. These beliefs influenced the evolution of religious and spiritual traditions, putting significance in the heart as a source of love,
compassion, and connection.

Jasmine: Literature and Art have played a significant role in linking the emotion of love with the heart. Metaphors like, "'My heart belongs to you," and "you have my heart," have solidified the heart as a symbol of love within popular culture. Artists have portrayed courage, loyalty and nurturing as extensions of love and have focused on the heart to illustrate these feelings.

Chrissy: Some say the heart shape that we use today is rooted back into ancient illustrations of ivy leaves and/or the seeds of the popular medicinal silphium plant. This shape has very strong ties to Medieval and Renaissance times, where it was made a stable in religious art and statues which was an important part of various cultures.

Jasmine: You have been listening to the Sound of Science on WNIJ, where you learn something new every day.

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