Each week, Ventricles introduces an interesting topic about science and technology, from the past, the present and sometimes (how we imagine) the future. Featuring interviews with scholars working at the intersection of science, religion and culture, Ventricles explores the many ways that people know and have known the world.
Ventricles is a new podcast written and produced by Shireen Hamza for the Science, Religion and Culture Program at Harvard Divinity School. We'd love to hear your thoughts -- write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
How do everyday technologies change our understanding of our own bodies? The pulse is a diagnostic tool common to many medical traditions, including Ayurveda, an ancient medicine of South Asia. In this episode, Professor Projit Mukharji tells us how the pulse has been understood by Ayurvedic practitioners (vaidyas) over time. He explains how pulse-taking changed when mechanical clocks, specifically the pocket watch and wristwatch, became a widespread technology in colonial India. Finally, this episode features a story by physician Dr. Melanie Baskind, and an excerpt of an interview with Dr. Mary Jo Cravatta, a practitioner of Ayurveda.
Audio credits: Special thanks to the Yogahealer podcast, for letting us feature some of their episode on pulse diagnosis, and The Overseas Ensemble, a collaboration between composer Paed Conca and Sarigama, for use of their music
The body has many rhythms, but the pulse is one that people have paid close attention to. Over the last two millennia, the pulse has been used as a diagnostic tool in both Greek and Chinese medicine. In this episode, Professor Shigehisa Kuriyama discusses the history of the pulse in these two traditions. As he explains, the very conception of what the pulse is, how to sense it and what it can tell us about the body has changed over the course of its history.
How have humans kept track of time? What technologies have they developed to tell time, and how have they been influenced by religious and scientific cultures? In this episode, Dr. Sara Schechner, a historian of astronomy, speaks about the history of timekeeping, and how timekeeping technologies have shaped people’s sense of time.