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Thread: James Rollins- is he right?

  1. #1 James Rollins- is he right? 
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Hi, I've been reading the last oracle by James Rollins and in it he says that the human brain has 30 billion neurons with roughly one million billion synaptic connections with a very large amount of neural circuits in the number of ten followed by a million zeros. and that the total number of atoms in the universe is only eighty followed by eighty zeros. Phew!
    Now, is he right?

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  3. #2  
    Forum Professor Zwirko's Avatar
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    Sep 2008
    55 N, 3 W
    The average human brain has some 100 billion neurons. 10^11 (100 000 000 000). However, these are far out numbered by a type of cell known as the glial cell. There are at least 10 times as many of those as neurons. In total, there are around 10^14 cells in the human body (100 000 000 000 000).

    So, not counting other cell types, we have 100 billion neurons - slightly more than Rollins suggests (three times as many).

    Synapses (the connections between nuerons) are hard to count, but estimates vary from 100 to 500 trillion. 10^14 to 5 10^14 (100 000 000 000 000 - 500 000 000 000 000). How these neurons hook up in certain ways to form specific neuronal circuits is a tricky topic. The number of "possible" circuit patterns that could be produced is indeed greater than the number of atoms in the known universe. Some very rough estimates calculate that there are 10^80 hydrogen atoms in the observable universe. Possible activation patterns in neuronal circuits could be of the order of 10 to the power of 100 billion.

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  4. #3  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard SkinWalker's Avatar
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    Apr 2005
    Grand Prairie, TX
    I love James Rollins novels, but there are so many things he writes that are just plain fiction -usually stuff that borders on the supernatural or high-tech for ancient civilizations.

    I occasionally catch factual things that are simply wrong about science that are pretty mundane, but perhaps they're necessary for his story lines.

    Still, factual errors and literary license aside, he's still one of my favorite novelists. I just started the Last Oracle, I hope Gray finds Monk!

    ... Don't tell me though!
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