General, Research, Technology

Is the universe like a brain?

If you look closely at spacecobweb - the structure of the Universe, which consists of massive filaments of galaxies, separated by giant voids - and a network of neurons in the human brain, you can see some similarities. But how correct is such a comparison in general? As it turns out, describing the human brain as a three-pound universe is perhaps much closer to the truth than it might seem. The human brain, weighing about three pounds (about 1300 kg), contains about 100 billion neurons, and the number of connections in it is greater than the number of galaxies in the universe. The brain is the command center for everything we think, feel, and do. And when astrophysicist Franco Vazza and neuroscientist Alberto Feletti numerically compared the two structures, the similarities became even more striking. Perhaps not surprisingly, it leads to all sorts of thoughts, even to the point that we are living in a simulation.

Left: an enlarged area of ​​the cerebellum of the brain, obtained using electron microscopy; right: A cosmological simulation plot with an expansion of 300 million light years on each side.

The most complex organ of the human body

The human brain has been described as the most complexobject in the universe. He is responsible for everything you do, think, feel and say - for what makes you who you are and allows you to go about your daily activities. The midbrain of an adult is about the size of an average cauliflower.

The midbrain of an adult contains about 100 billion brain cells. Each of them is associated with about 1000 others. That's 100 trillion connections.

The brain makes up about 2% of total body weight, but receives 20% of our blood supply and uses 20% of our total calorie intake.

If it took you one second to count every brain cell in one brain, it would take over 3,000 years to count them all *.

Every single part of the brain plays a differentrole by allowing a person to have thoughts and memories, move arms and legs, smell, sight, hear, touch and taste, and support the functions of many organs in the body.

Your brain is made up of a complex network of nearly 100billion neurons that form 100 trillion neural connections. Neurons are grouped into a hierarchical network of nodes, strands, and interconnected neural clusters that shape our complex thoughts, feelings, and emotions. But these neurons make up less than 25 percent of the brain's mass, leaving the remaining 75 percent as water.

By a strange coincidence, the observed universealso contains about 100 billion galaxies. The precarious balance between the attraction of gravity and the accelerated expansion of the Universe forms a cosmic web of filamentary threads, consisting of ordinary and dark matter. There is a 50% chance that we are living in a simulation

What is Dark Matter?

Clusters of galaxies form at intersectionsthreads, leaving empty spaces of empty space between them. The resulting image is strikingly similar to a network of neurons. Ironically, scientists estimate that only about 25 percent of the matter in the universe is visible. The remaining 75 percent is dark matter.

“Although the corresponding physical interactions inthe aforementioned two systems are completely different, their observation with microscopic and telescopic methods captured excruciatingly similar morphology, to the point that it has often been noted that the cosmic web and the web of neurons look the same, ”write Vazza and Feletti in their article published in the journal Frontiers in Physics.

Despite these immediate similarities, scientistswanted to look at these two systems more quantitatively. Therefore, they used a technique called power spectrum analysis, a technique often used in astrophysics to study the large-scale distribution of galaxies. They measured the strength of tiny fluctuations across the full range of spatial scales, both in simulating galaxies and in regions of the cerebellum and cerebral cortex.

“Our analysis showed that the distribution of fluctuationswithin the neural network of the cerebellum on a scale of 1 micrometer to 0.1 millimeter follows the same progression of the distribution of matter in the cosmic web, but of course on a larger scale, which goes from 5 million to 500 million light years, ”said Vazza of the University of Bologna in Italy in a press release.

The researchers also compared the power spectraother complex systems, including images of tree branches, clouds and water turbulence, but none of them came close to matching the neural and universal duo. However, the power spectra do not give any hint of the complexity of the systems. To do this, scientists examined the networks of both systems, comparing the average number of connections per node and how these nodes are grouped together.

“Once again the structural parameters revealedunexpected levels of agreement. The communication within these two networks is likely to develop along similar physical principles, despite the striking and obvious difference between the physical forces that govern galaxies and neurons, ”Feletti of the University of Verona in Italy said in a press release.

It is quite impressive that the space network of ourthe visible universe may have more to do with the network of neurons in your brain than individual galaxies and stars — or that the complex network of neurons in your skull is better paired with the cosmic network than individual brain cells. However, these similarities only arise when researchers compare the specific scale of each system.

This is especially important when comparing somethinginfinite, such as the universe (as far as science can tell), with your very limited brain. Given that everything in our universe operates according to the same laws of physics, it’s not hard to imagine similarities if you look closely enough.
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