U.S. researchers came to a conclusion that the universe is very likely to develop in a manner analogous to that of the brain. The simulations they used in the course of the research also show that the development of the universe has common features with that of the Internet and social networks like Facebook.
Researchers at the University of Southern California suggest that some basic physical laws control the development of both smaller and larger systems, which start from the electrical activity in the human brain, expand to the operation and development of the Internet and social networks and reach to the expansion of galaxies.
“The dynamics of the mechanisms of natural development are the same for different networks whether they are digital such as the Internet and social networks or are the networks related to the brain,” says physicist Dmitri Krioukov, head of the research team. “Apparently, there is only one fundamental law of nature that controls all these networks,” says Kevin Basler, a physicist at the University of Houston who was not involved in the research.
The researchers designed a simulation of the development of the universe, starting with the early universe which was split in the smallest particles, the quanta. In physics, the term quantum refers to a dimensionless quantity unit, an “amount of something”. For example, a quantum of light is a light unit, a photon. In the simulation the quanta were connected into a giant cosmic network, and, as the simulation proceeded, the universal spacetime continuously increased so that connections between matter and galaxies increased as well.
When the researchers compared the development of the universe to that of brain circuits and that of social networks, it was found that all these extend in similar ways. “It is possible that some, still unknown to us, laws of nature determine how networks grow and change, from the smallest brain cells to the large galaxies,” says Dmitry Krioukov. The research is published in the journal «Nature Scientific Reports».
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