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Is The Brain is a Mini-Universe?

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Have you had the thought that inside each of our brains, all the neurons, synapses, electrical firing, and webs resemble our concept of the universe?  If you have, you’re not alone, with recent research released last week which found more than one way in which our brains resemble the universe.  

               Visually, the network of neurons within the human brain resembles what scientists refer to as the cosmic web.  In the cosmic web, galaxies metaphorically replace neurons, but the interconnectedness is very similar between the two.  Researchers from the Institute of Neurosurgery in Italy took the analogy further by conducting a study to explore the properties of the networks, along with the structural and memory capacity of the two webs.

               The researchers used methods and information from network analysis, neuroscience, and cosmology in order to investigate the parallels between the human brain and the universe.  One of the biggest similarities between the two was in the structural aspect and how both galaxies and neurons are organized.  They both have an affinity for arranging themselves with filaments as connectors (or nodes).

               Another similarity is that despite the vastness of the networks, the neurons and galaxies themselves take up a very small amount of the total mass of each web system (less than 30%).  The remaining mass in the human brain is composed of water; and in the case of the universe, the rest of the mass is composed of dark matter.

               Despite the differences in sheer size between the cosmic web and the brain’s neural web, the study suggests that the configurations of the networks result in comparable levels of self-organization and complexity even though each is borne out of distinct and different processes on the physical plane.

               This fascinating study admits its limitations but does go a long way to explaining how much similarity there is between the macroscopic and microscopic worlds.


Vazza, F., & Feletti, A. (2020, September 28). The Quantitative Comparison Between the Neuronal Network and the Cosmic Web. Retrieved December 02, 2020, from https://doi.org/10.3389/fphy.2020.525731


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