how many inter-neuronic connections are there in the human brain?

“MAYBE YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND how complex a structure the human brain is. Believe me, it makes the sidereal universe look like a child’s building set. There are many times more possible inter-neuronic connections than there are atoms in the entire cosmos—the factor is something like ten to the power of several million.

It’s not surprising that a slight change in electrochemistry—too slight to make any any important difference in the body—will change the whole nature of the mind. Look what a little dope or alcohol will do.”

— Poul Anderson (Brain Wave, 1954)

A world we never imagined

“The human brain is one of nature’s most complex structures, and scientists are still a long way from understanding its mechanics. But a new study has come one step closer to unlocking its secrets by unravelling its immense complexity.

The research has revealed that the mind is home to shapes and structures that have as many as 11 dimensions. And understanding these structures could help us to reveal exactly how memories are formed.

The research used in-depth computer modelling to understand how brain cells organise themselves to carry out complex tasks.

‘We found a world that we had never imagined,’ said neuroscientist Henry Markram, director of Blue Brain Project in Lausanne, Switzerland. ‘There are tens of millions of these objects even in a small speck of the brain, up through seven dimensions. In some networks, we even found structures with up to eleven dimensions.’

The complex geometric shapes form when a group of brain cells—known as neurons—merge to make what scientists call a ‘clique’. Every neuron connects to its neighbour in a specific way to form an object with complex interconnections. The more neurons that join in with the ‘clique’, the more ‘dimensions’ are added to the object.

Shapes that are three-dimensional have height, width and depth, like any object in the real world.  The objects discovered in this study don’t exist in more than three dimensions in the real world, but the mathematics used to describe them can have five, six, seven, or even eleven dimensions.”

— Daisy Dunn (Daily Mail, 2017)

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