Curiosity Corner: The heart

Curiosity Corner


Dr. Jerry D. Wilson,

Emeritus Professor of Physics

Lander University


The heart is basically a pump that keeps our blood circulating – a vital organ. Yet, we associate emotions with the heart. Usually, these are the lovey-dovey kind of emotions, especially around Valentine’s Day. But not always. Consider the following common expressions:


  • heartache – deep grief or pain
  • heartbreak (broken heart) – extreme disappointment (lost at love)
  • heartfelt – most sincere
  • have a heart – be forgiving
  • heavy heart – very sad
  • know it in my heart – to know for sure
  • change of heart – change of mind or opinion
  • to know by heart – to have it memorized
  • have your heart set on – a big desire
  • cry your heart out – big grief
  • wear your heart on your sleeve – obvious emotion
  • give my heart to you – to show true love (or, maybe, an actual transplant)


You can probably think of others (if you have your heart in the right place, that is). There’s also heartless, heartrending, heartsick, heartstrings, heartwarming, heartthrob, and so on. I’m glad we had this little heart-to-heart.


This is a short one, so how about some curious trivia questions?



  1. Which state has the shortest motto?
  2. How high is Mt. Everest?
  3. How many bones are in the human body?



  1. Coincidentally, the smallest state, Rhode Island, has the shortest motto – one word: Hope. (Do you know your state’s motto? South Carolina: Dum Spiro Spero, or While I breathe, I hope; West Virginia: Montani Semper Liberi, or Mountaineers always free.)
  2. Well, you have to be up-to-date on this one. It was 29,028 ft., as determined by surveying techniques in 1954. But it’s growing … well, not really. Recent measurements using global positioning satellites (GPS) have added 7 feet, giving it a height of 29,035 ft. I thought you’d want to know. Incidentally, because of continental drift (plate tectonics), the mountain is moving northward toward China at about 2.5 inches per year – about as fast as your fingernails grow.
  3. Trick question! Trick question! The number of bones in the human body ranges somewhere between 350 to 206. We are normally born with 350 bones, but some of these fuse together as we age, and you end up with 206 bones by your mid-20s. No bones about it!


C.P.S. (Curious Postscript): “Psychology. Mind over matter? Mind under matter? It doesn’t matter. Never mind.” –Anon.


Curious about something? Send your questions to Dr. Jerry D. Wilson, College of Science and Mathematics, Lander University, Greenwood, SC 29649, or email Selected questions will appear in the Curiosity Corner. For Curiosity Corner background, go to

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