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Harvard & Google maps human brain

  • May 14, 2024
  • 1 min read
Harvard & Google maps human brain

Research from Google and Harvard has resulted in a deep dive into the human brain, mapping thousands of cells and millions of synapses in a sample of brain tissue no bigger than a poppy seed. The result produced some amazing images and is a major leap towards one of science’s biggest challenges.

The human brain is among nature’s most complex creations, with 86 billion neurons connected through 100 trillion synapses. It’s complexity has made it difficult to map out but that hasn’t stopped the team from trying regardless.

The team from Harvard and Google Research have published the largest ever dataset of neural connections in a human brain, or at least a small peace of one measuring just 1 cubic millimetre. That’s the same size as a single poppy seed. But within that space alone is 57,000 neurons, 230mm of blood vessels, and 150 million synapses.

Mapping even that small amount resulted in an enormous 1.4 petabytes (PB) or 1.4 million gigabytes (gb) of data. That’s the same as 28,000 blu-ray discs that stacked on top of one-another, would be higher than the statue of liberty. The human brain on the other hand is believed to have a data storage capacity 2.5 PB.

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