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Our Minds Are Like Computers (Ditto for Worms)

Physicist Dani Bassett discusses the structural similarities between the human brain and that of worms -- or of nearly any system that processes information.

At first glance, humans, sea lions, worms, and computers don’t seem to have much in common. But all of these things contain systems for processing information and it turns out that all of the systems have a secret similarity.

Dr. Dani Bassett, a physicist and postdoctoral research associate at the University of California, Santa Barbara, talks about how animal brains and computers are both built like a giant stack of Russian dolls, with components fitting into very similar larger components. In a recent article in the journal PLoS Computational Biology, she writes about the hidden constraints that force the same structure onto practically any system that processes information.

To hear Curiouser & Curiouser host Jai Ranganathan interview Dr. Bassett, click on the podcast player above.

Music for Curiouser and Curiouser is provided by Jamie Miller and by David Matheson.