The nerve cells in our head are like little loaded Colts: ready to “fire” at any time. Our brain consists of billions of them, connected in a dense signal network. This is stuff for nightmares, because what if the signal fire grows at lightning speed, who stops it?
The everyday experience with our brains seems reassuringly different: We can think in peace, enjoy music, or simply daydream without the activity of our neurons ever seeming to get out of control.
What is behind this incredible taming of brain cells?
A clue is provided by an astonishing observation that sensitive measurements have made visible only in recent years: The brain “crackles” when it is at rest. A few nerve cells fire here and there, and in the loudspeaker this sounds like a cozy campfire. We know such crackling from physics, e.g. in earthquakes, in the slow crumpling of paper or in the pouring of milk over Rice Krispies. The physics models describing these phenomena seem to fit the brain as well. This provides the crucial clue to understanding how the brain “keeps its nerve.”
Read more: https://www.uni-bremen.de/mindtalks