Why does the human brain resemble the universe?

1509721527why-does-the-human-brain-resemble-the-universe.jpg

By: Paromita Ghosh

Last Update: 2021-02-20 01:03:07 IST

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The orders of magnitude of the Universe and those of the brain are enormously different but the connections evolve with very similar physical principles.

The comparison between the brain and the Universe may seem risky given that the network of galaxies and that of neuronal cells in the human brain have a scale difference greater than 27 orders of magnitude. Yet recent Italian research conducted by University of Bologna astrophysicist Franco Vazza and University of Verona neurosurgeon Alberto Feletti, published in Frontiers of Physics , showed that the two networks are more similar than you think.

The two Italian scholars compared the cosmic network of galaxies with the network of neurons of the cerebral cortex, concluding that completely different physical processes can form structures with incredibly similar levels of complexity and self-organization.

The human brain works thanks to a network of 69 billion neurons. The observable universe has a cosmic network of 100 billion galaxies . Net of this numerical difference, the distribution of matter follows similar physical principles: in both systems, only 30% of the masses are composed of galaxies and neurons. And in both systems, galaxies and neurons arrange themselves in long filaments or knots between filaments.

Finally, within both systems, 70% of the distribution of mass or energy is made up of components that play an apparently passive role: water in the brain and dark energy in the observable universe. «Probably», says Franco Vazza, astrophysicist at the University of Bologna and co-author of the research, the connectivity within the two networks evolves following similar physical principles.

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