Your Inner Universe: The World Inside Our Heads

Your Inner Universe
Your Inner Universe

There’s a world of complexly interconnected neurons inside our brains. Thanks to a group of researchers from the Blue Brain Project, we now know that the brain is even more complicated than we realized. These neuroscientists used math to look at the structures in our brains and discovered that neurons can connect to create geometrical structures of up to 11 dimensions. Our world only goes up to 3-D, so this is pretty cool stuff. What exactly does this all mean, though?

Searching for Answers

The researchers of the Blue Brain Project were interested in trying to develop a concrete understanding of the connection between neural network structures and how the brain processes information, so they began their search for answers. They peered into a computer-generated model of the human brain and looked at its neural structures. Even cooler, they added stimuli to see how such brain structures reacted and changed. Using a branch of math called algebraic topology, they mapped out these changes. What they discovered is pretty incredible.

A New Discovery

The scientists used a model of the neocortex to experiment on how stimuli affected brain structures. They then used algebraic topology to map out how the neurons moved and reshaped when different stimuli were applied. The neurologists found that the structures in the brain could form objects of up to 11 dimensions, which we never before knew was possible.

However, these dimensions are not quite the same as what we think of as spatial dimensions (e.g. how our world is 3-dimensional). Scientists use “dimensions” as a way to describe the size of the neuronal networks. Basically, neurons connect together to create cliques and we now know that these cliques can have up to 11 connections!

Now, take into account that the human brain has about 86 billion neurons. There’s definitely a lot going on in our heads. Now that we see that these neurons can have all these connections, a better understanding of the brain’s complexity has come to light. With this new discovery, scientists are a step closer to understanding just how our brains work.

The human brain is the most complex thing in the universe, and we’re struggling to get answers on just how our brains work to produce what we know as “consciousness.” Luckily, a combination of math, science, and computer simulation completed by scientists of the Blue Brain Project has produced a mathematical framework to get us a little closer to understanding the enigma known as the human brain.

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