How our brains track where we and others go

As COVID cases rise, physically distancing yourself from other people has never been more important. Now a new UCLA study reveals how your brain navigates places and monitors someone else in the same location.

Psychology & Psychiatry

Closer threats inspire a more primitive kind of fear

Your brain handles a perceived threat differently depending on how close it is to you. If it's far away, you engage more problem-solving areas of the brain. But up close, your animal instincts jump into action and there isn't ...


Neuroscientists create the sensation of invisibility

The power of invisibility has long fascinated man and inspired the works of many great authors and philosophers. In a study from Sweden's Karolinska Institutet, a team of neuroscientists now reports a perceptual illusion ...


Brain damage caused by long stays in space

Spending a long time in space appears to cause brain damage. This is shown by a study of five Russian cosmonauts who had stayed on the International Space Station (ISS). Researchers at the University of Gothenburg are among ...


When the brain's GPS goes off the grid

In a new study published in Nature today, Weizmann Institute of Science researchers, in collaboration with colleagues from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, unveiled for the first time how three-dimensional space is represented ...

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Space is the boundless, three-dimensional extent in which objects and events occur and have relative position and direction. Physical space is often conceived in three linear dimensions, although modern physicists usually consider it, with time, to be part of the boundless four-dimensional continuum known as spacetime. In mathematics spaces with different numbers of dimensions and with different underlying structures can be examined. The concept of space is considered to be of fundamental importance to an understanding of the universe although disagreement continues between philosophers over whether it is itself an entity, a relationship between entities, or part of a conceptual framework.

Many of the philosophical questions arose in the 17th century, during the early development of classical mechanics. In Isaac Newton's view, space was absolute - in the sense that it existed permanently and independently of whether there were any matter in the space. Other natural philosophers, notably Gottfried Leibniz, thought instead that space was a collection of relations between objects, given by their distance and direction from one another. In the 18th century, Immanuel Kant described space and time as elements of a systematic framework which humans use to structure their experience.

In the 19th and 20th centuries mathematicians began to examine non-Euclidean geometries, in which space can be said to be curved, rather than flat. According to Albert Einstein's theory of general relativity, space around gravitational fields deviates from Euclidean space. Experimental tests of general relativity have confirmed that non-Euclidean space provides a better model for explaining the existing laws of mechanics and optics.

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