Ever wonder if the universe is just a giant brain? If so, then you’re not the only one. A small-scale preliminary study by University of Bologna astrophysicist Franco Vazza and University of Verona neurosurgeon Alberto Feletti discovered surprising similarities in a new paper published in the journal Frontiers in Physics. The scale between the two “most challenging and complex systems” in existence may be different, but their structures are strikingly similar. Read more for a video and additional information.
The study suggests that diverse physical processes can build structures characterized by similar levels of complexity as well as self-organization. In other words, the human brain functions using its network of nearly 70 billion neurons while the universe is thought to have at least 100 billion galaxies, with just 30 percent of each network’s mass being composed of galaxies and neurons. Inside each of these systems, about 70 percent of its mass is made up of components playing a passive role, such as water in the brain and dark energy in the cosmos. This causes the entire system to look similar to a web, with the galaxies and neurons arranged in long linking filaments and nodes.
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Although the relevant physical interactions in the above two systems are completely different, their observation through microscopic and telescopic techniques have captured a tantalizing similar morphology, to the point that it has often been noted that the cosmic web and the web of neurons look alike,” according to the paper.