Perhaps one of the most famous (1) verses of poetry circulating among us from the writings of Ali bin Abi Talib is the one in which he wondered, using the beautiful chants of the converging sea, saying: “Do you claim that you are a small body... and in you is the greater world involved?” Of course the verses take a philosophical and contemplative aspect. , and they are not intended specifically for physical aspects, but can there really be a degree of similarity between the great world above and your own world between the sides of your brain, at what level?

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“We can clearly observe this,” said Franco Vasa, assistant professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy from the Italian University of Bologna, in his talk with the editor of “


”, adding after that: “When you measure the morphological properties and communication patterns between the cosmic network of galaxies, And you do the same for neurons in the human brain, and you can measure a remarkable similarity.”

Vasa, in cooperation with the assistant professor from the Department of Neuroscience at the Italian University of Verona, "Alberto Feletti", is working on this very interesting idea, between the universe, which contains - as far as we know - about two trillion galaxies, and the brain, which contains more than 70 million neurons, We can read patterns that are real, measurable and observable, not imagined or speculative.

Feletti said in his interview with


: “This kind of similarity was observed before, but we delved into this comparison from a quantitative point of view,” as it appeared - according to their observations (2) - that within both systems, cosmic and cerebral, only 30% are formed. Of the mass of galaxies or neurons, the other 70% is made up of a negative element, but it plays an essential role, in the brain this element is water, and in the universe it is dark matter.

Left: the mechanism of distribution of neurons and their connections in the brain Right: the mechanism of distribution of galaxies in the cosmic web

Dark matter (3) is a definition of our ignorance.

In a clearer sense, we do not know the nature of that matter, in fact we do not know whether it exists in the first place or not, but when we monitor the velocities of the stars in the outskirts of our galaxy, we find that they do not agree with the laws of physics that we know, as it seems that they are supposed to leave the galaxy and escape But that does not happen.

Also, when we measure the masses of distant galaxies through various observational mechanisms, the apparent output to us in the equations is much greater than what we see.

For this reason, scientists assume the existence of dark matter, and assuming its existence is responsible for the shape of the universe as we know it, or what we call the Cosmic Web 4, Vasa told Meydan: “The cosmic web is the way in which cosmic matter (whether “ordinary”) is organized. or "dark") over billions of years of evolution".

When we use telescopes to make a comprehensive celestial survey, in an attempt to understand the distribution of galaxies in the universe, we find that they are not distributed regularly, but rather take the form of threads interconnected together and voids almost empty of galaxies between them, it is like pieces of sponge, or that delicious piece of cheese in “Tom” Jerry, "At the meeting points of these threads together, we find dense galactic clusters that contain thousands of galaxies.

The cosmic web is the greatest form of the universe that we see, we do not yet know the reason for its formation, but the research community tends to the fact that dark matter played a role in that story.

Eleven dimensions in your brain

In fact, one of the similarities between the two systems, the cosmic and the brain, is that network mechanism where galaxies - and neurons - are arranged in the form of long threads and nodes between these threads, and we are talking here specifically about brain cells and not the rest of the whole body.

“Brain cells are different from other cells in our body for a number of reasons,” Feletti told Meydan’s editor, after which he added: “One of the most important properties that make brain cells unique is their branching mechanism, which enables them to interact efficiently with each other. some”, and this particular feature is what makes the brain a very special and complex system at the same time, and it is so complex that scientists from the “Blue Brain Project” 5 use multidimensional mathematics to try to understand it.

To understand the idea, bring a white paper and a pen, then start drawing a simple cube. After you finish drawing, consider what you have drawn. Basically, this cube is a three-dimensional entity that has length, width, and height, but despite that, you could draw it on a paper surface (a two-dimensional surface). ), mathematicians can draw higher dimensions on paper as well, and the higher the dimensions, the more complex the shape.

Brain connections take patterns whose development can be understood through multidimensional mathematics

We know that our brains respond to any stimulus - be it an embarrassing accident in the street, for example - by building new connections between neurons, but the problem has always been that no one has been able to understand the pattern of formation and complexity of those connections as the external stimulus continues to exacerbate, but when he decided this To apply algebraic topology, the research team discovered that the brain complexes its connections with a geometry whose dimensions rise with the complexity and persistence of the external stimulus. The brain begins to form rods of neuron assemblies (one dimension), then the rods turn into plates (two dimensions), then the plates turn into cubes (three dimensions). ), then the shapes complex to reach higher dimensions.

Moreover, in the words of Feletti in his conversation with Meidan, “the ability of communication between neurons can be maximized, using electrical and chemical signals, so that they can establish not only close contact, but also long-range interactions in a very short time.” He added that this is the basis for the formation of the complex and amazing network that we call the "brain".


“The idea that complex systems in the universe are likely to follow similar logic, despite the striking difference in size and origin, is something astrophysics uses,” Vasa told Meydan: “For example, we use the same laws that describe the evolution of oceans and clouds, To model the evolution of plasma clouds over a distance of millions of light years”, but these results must prompt another important question, we do not mean here that the brain is a small universe, of course, but what if the same laws govern the two entities in the same way?

This essential similarity may confirm that complex natural networks regulate themselves according to similar laws, however different they may be in scale, but can an entity regulate itself by itself?

It's something we notice in almost everything around us, how can a rose take such a very regular shape?

Why are the kernels in a sunflower disk arranged in this way?

Why didn't the zebra's black stripes appear so consistent?

What makes nebulae in the depths of deep space so elegant?

What about spiral galaxies?

We live in a universe that shows order and complexity everywhere and on every level, and the phenomenon, which almost all natural phenomena agree on, is called self-organization, and it means the transition of a system from a state of chaos to a state of order thanks to its internal interactions, one of the most famous examples In this context, they are ice crystals, almost not one of them is similar to the other, but each of them is wonderfully organized, this happens because of the basic laws of physics by which water molecules can assemble together, there are specific degrees of freedom and degrees of restriction for each of those molecules, You force them all to arrange themselves in specific shapes, but because each group of molecules - and we're talking about millions of them here - takes different positions from the other groups during crystal formation, each of them arranges differently.

This extends in complexity to living organisms, starting with bacteria and passing through the complexities of the physiology and anatomy of the human body. “Complex networks tend to evolve according to similar physical laws, in order to save energy and fill the void in a more efficient way,” Feletti says in an interview with Meydan.

The man who raised his eyes to the sky

It is possible to notice these mechanisms even in human populations. Have you noticed, for example, that those mechanisms by which galaxies gather in the universe and neurons in the brain are the same as those that gather human societies on the surface of the Earth?

Open "Google Maps" now and consider the distribution of the villages of the Egyptian Dakahlia Governorate, for example, it is the same network structures that consist of a concentrated mass in certain areas, and thin threads extending between them, another cosmic network made by humans automatically, they did not mean that, but these structures serve the nature of their lives .

The distribution of villages and cities in one of the regions in the Egyptian Delta, is similar to the distribution of neural and cosmic networks, clusters concentrated in specific regions, and thin threads extending between them.

In the societies of the animal world, self-regulation is also evident. Take, for example, fireflies, a type of beetle that can emit beautifully synchronized pulses of light in their huge assemblies, fireflies manage to create this regular pattern through a simple 7 law that says: "Follow your neighbour." , the fireflies start with a random light pulse pattern, but after the first pulse each one of them looks at its surroundings and tries to pulse in sync with its nearest neighbor, and the order continues to develop until the whole team beats into one regular unit.

Like everything in the universe, the little fireflies depend on simple internal laws to create a beautiful order in the overall picture, Vazza says to "Medan" in the conclusion of his speech: "There is no magic here, it is just ordinary physical laws, governing different shapes and sizes of matter, They, in turn, evolve within very complex systems.” He adds shortly afterwards: “In fact, a detailed understanding of how these complex systems arise from simple physical laws is already at the heart of what modern physics does.”

Of course there is no magic, but what really motivates meditation is that we, humans, have had this amazing ability to contemplate the universe around us and read its patterns with every possible intelligence, perhaps because we are so afraid that we want to control all its vocabulary, by understanding it first!



  • Diwan of Imam Ali

  • The Quantitative Comparison Between the Neuronal Network and the Cosmic Web

  •  Dark Energy, Dark Matter


  • Blue Brain Team Discovers a Multi-Dimensional Universe in Brain Networks

  • What Is Self-Organization?

  • Complexity Science- a guided tour, by Melanie Mitchell

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