Similarities between the Brain and the Universe*
One should be careful in saying what this means, without understanding the essence of it, and that requires stepping outside science…
We often speak of the universe being a reflection of ourselves, and point to how the eye, veins, and brain cells mirror visual phenomenon in the natural universe. As above so below right? Well check this out. How about the idea that the universe is a giant brain? The idea of the universe as a ‘giant brain’ has been proposed by scientists and science fiction writers for decades, but now physicists say there may be some evidence that it’s actually true (in a sense).
According to a study published in Nature’s Scientific Reports, the universe may be growing in the same way as a giant brain – with the electrical firing between brain cells ‘mirrored’ by the shape of expanding galaxies. The results of a computer simulation suggest that “natural growth dynamics” – the way that systems evolve – are the same for different kinds of networks – whether it’s the internet, the human brain or the universe as a whole.
When the team compared the universe’s history with growth of social networks and brain circuits, they found all the networks expanded in similar ways: They balanced links between similar nodes with ones that already had many connections. For instance, a cat lover surfing the Internet may visit mega-sites such as Google or Yahoo, but will also browse cat fancier websites or YouTube kitten videos. In the same way, neighbouring brain cells like to connect, but neurons also link to such “Google brain cells” that are hooked up to loads of other brain cells.
“The new study suggests a single fundamental law of nature may govern these networks”, said physicist Kevin Bassler of the University of Houston. “
”For a physicist it’s an immediate signal that there is some missing understanding of how nature works,” says Dmitri Krioukov from the University of California San Diego.
“Here we show that the causal network representing the large-scale structure of space-time in our accelerating universe is a power-law graph with strong clustering, similar to many complex networks such as the Internet, social, or biological networks. We prove that this structural similarity is a consequence of the asymptotic equivalence between the large-scale growth dynamics of complex networks and causal networks.”