Does the human mind resemble the universe?


Left: segment of the cerebellum, with magnification factor 40x, obtained with electron microscopy (Dr. E. Zunarelli, University Hospital of Modena); On the right: the segment of a cosmological simulation, which extends 300 million light-years on each side (Vazza et al. 2019 A & A). Sincerely: University of Bologna

An astrophysicist at the University of Bologna and a neurosurgeon at the University of Verona compared the network of neuronal cells in the human brain to the cosmic network of galaxies … and surprising similarities were revealed.

In his letter published in Frontiers in Physics, Franco Vaza (astronomer at the University of Bologna) and Alberto Felletti (neurosurgeon at the University of Verona) investigated the similarities between the two most challenging and complex systems in nature: the cosmic network of galaxies and the human brain in a network of neuron cells.

Despite substantial differences in the scale between the two networks (more than 27 orders of magnitude), their quantitative analysis, which sits at the crossroads of cosmology and neurosurgery, suggests that diverse physiological processes are characterized by similar levels of complexity and self-structures. Can manufacture. Organization.

The human brain thanks to its wide neuronal network, which consists of approximately 69 billion neurons. On the other hand, the observable universe is made up of a cosmic web of at least 100 billion galaxies. Within both systems, only 30% of their mass is composed of galaxies and neurons. Within both systems, galaxies and neurons organize themselves between filaments into long filaments or nodes. Finally, within both systems, 70% of the mass or energy distribution is composed of components playing an apparently passive role: water in the brain and dark energy in the observable universe.

Starting with the shared features of the two systems, the researchers compared a simulation of a network of galaxies to sections of the cerebral cortex and cerebellum. The goal was to see how much such fluctuations occur on such diverse scales.

“We calculate the spectral density of both systems. This is a technique often employed to study the spatial distribution of galaxies in cosmology,” Franco Vaza explains. “Our analysis showed that the distribution of fluctuations within the cerebellum neuronal network on a scale from 1 micrometer to 0.1 millimeter follows a similar progression of the distribution of matter in the cosmic web, but of course, a scale larger than 5” But million to 500 million light years. “

Both researchers calculated some of the parameters that characterize both the neuronal network and the cosmic web: the average number of connections in each node and the tendency to connect multiple connections to relevant central nodes within the network.

“Once again, structural parameters have identified levels of unexpected agreement. Perhaps, despite clear and unambiguous differences between the physical forces regulating galaxies and neurons, the connectivity within the two networks follows similar physical principles. ” “These two complex networks show more similarities than those shared inside the cosmic web and a galaxy or a neuronal network and a neuronal body.”

The encouraging results of this pilot study are prompting researchers to think that new and effective analysis techniques in both fields, cosmology and neurosurgery, will allow for a better understanding of the dynamics rooted during the temporal development of these two systems.


Has the hidden substance of the universe been discovered?


more information:
F. Vazza et al, The Quantitative Comparison for the Neural Network and Cosmic Web, Frontiers in Physics (2020). DOI: 10.3389 / fphy.2020.525731

Provided by Università di Bologna

Quotes: Does the human brain resemble the universe? (2020, 16 November) Retrieved 16 November 2020 from https://phys.org/news/2020-11-human-brain-resemble-universe.html

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