BREAKING: The Universe Is A Huge Human Brain, Discover Scientists

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Scientists found similarities in the workings of two systems
completely different in scale – the network of neuronal cells in the human
brain and the cosmic web of galaxies.


Researchers studied the two systems from a variety of
angles, looking at structure, morphology, memory capacity, and other
properties. Their quantitative analysis revealed that very dissimilar physical
processes can create structures sharing levels of complexity and organization,
even if they are varied in size by 27 orders of magnitude.

The unusual study was itself carried out by Italian
specialists in two very different fields – astrophysicist Franco Vazza from the
University of Bologna and neurosurgeon Alberto Feletti from the University of

“The tantalizing degree of similarity that our analysis
exposes seems to suggest that the self-organization of both complex systems is
likely being shaped by similar principles of network dynamics, despite the
radically different scales and processes at play,” wrote the scientists in
their new paper.

One of the most compelling insights of the study involved
looking at the brain’s neuronal network as a universe in itself. This network
contains about 69 billion neurons. If you’re keeping score, the observable
universe has a web of at least 100 billion galaxies.

Another similarity is the defined nature of their
networks–neurons, and galaxies–that have nodes connected by filaments. By
studying the average number of connections in each node and the clustering of
connections in nodes, the researchers concluded that there were definite
“agreement levels” in connectivity, suggesting the two networks grew as a
result of similar physical principles, according to Feletti.


Section of the human brain (left) and a simulated section of the cosmos (right).

Credit: University of Bologna

There are also interesting comparisons when it comes to the
composition of each structure. About 77 percent of the brain is water, while
about 70 percent of the Universe is filled with dark energy. These are both
passive materials that have indirect roles in their respective structures.

On the flip side of that, about 30 percent of the masses of
each system is comprised of galaxies or neurobrain matter density fluctuationsanny
similarity between matter density fluctuations in brains and the cosmic web.

“We calculated the spectral density of both systems. This is
a technique often employed in cosmology for studying the spatial distribution
of galaxies,” Vazza said in a press release. “Our analysis showed that the distribution
of the fluctuation within the cerebellum neuronal network on a scale from 1
micrometer to 0.1 millimeters follows the same progression of the distribution
of matter in the cosmic web but, of course, on a larger scale that goes from 5
million to 500 million light-years.”

Check out the new study “The Quantitative Comparison Between
the Neuronal Network and the Cosmic Web”, published in Frontiers in Physics.

 Originally published on BIG THINK

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