1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Neurophysics: speed of neurons

  1. May 10, 2014 #1
    I think this is more of a Neurophysics question and I am just asking a question with no experience in this field. I know the consciousness works because the neurons can send electrical signals within the brain. If I assume the right and left brain is apart from each other and the right brain is sending a signal to the left brain.

    From where the brain is apart from each other and the electrical signal cannot pass to the other side of the brain I would create a new electrical signal to match the signal on the other side of the brain even though it is apart from each other. I know electrical signal travels at the speed of light.

    If someone has an identical brain to mine and his right or left brain has the same signal matching my brain then technically our brain can function as one. If I have an arm long enough to circle the earth three and a half time and I touch the ground, I should be able to feel my hand touching the ground one second after because light travels the earth three and a half times in one second.

    The problem is if I have a one second delay in between the traveling electrical signal between my right brain and my left brain then the consciousness might not work out. The same reason I do not feel other person's consciousness because his mind has electrical signal traveling with a different timing. My question is, how long of a delay can I have between the traveling electrical signal between my right brain and my left brain and I would still have my consciousness?
    Last edited: May 10, 2014
  2. jcsd
  3. May 10, 2014 #2


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    We don't know. There's really not much that we do know about the connection between the mechanical workings of the brain and nervous system on the one hand, and consciousness on the other.

    If you can get hold of Daniel Dennett's book "Consciousness Explained" (the title is, to put it gently, a bit optimistic) it will give you a pretty good sense of where we are with this question.
  4. May 10, 2014 #3

    Doc Al

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    The speed of nerve impulses is much much less than the speed of light.

    Why do you think this?

    I believe the brain constantly 'integrates' inputs over time and creates an illusion that those inputs happened simultaneously. But I'd better let the experts answer that one.
  5. May 10, 2014 #4
    So many misconceptions!

    1) Electric signals don't move at the speed of light.
    2) Light can move 7 1/2 times around the earth in one second. That's more than 3 1/2 times.
    3) Consciousness has nothing to do with Synchronization.
    4) Your different senses are NOT as synchronized as you seem to believe.
    5) You can't be conscious of somebody else's brain because there is no connection between the two brains
    6) Your left and right brain hemispheres are connected to each other.
  6. May 10, 2014 #5
    Because of the dielectric material? Electric field disturbances, which is what the signals are, do propagate at the speed of light as far as I know. If there is a medium then it propagates at the speed of light in that medium. No?
  7. May 10, 2014 #6


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    In copper wire the field travels ~0.8 c.

    In regular glass (index of refraction=1.5) the field travels ~ 2/3 c.

    In water (index of refraction=1.33) the field travels ~3/4 c.

    But while the electric signal inside a neuron may travel pretty fast, crossing the synapse is an electrochemical process - and is quite slow, perhaps 100 meters per second, but often slower.
  8. May 10, 2014 #7
    If I clone the body of myself that does not develop consciousness then I can transfer my consciousness to it. The problem is how to clone a body without consciousness and what would be the possible replacement for the brain?
  9. May 10, 2014 #8

    Doc Al

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Oh really? How might you do that?
  10. May 11, 2014 #9
    If there is consciousness to transfer to a clone body developed without a consciousness's brain. I think I would use a maser or laser to match the electrical signal of the brain and transfer the signal to the clone body developed without a consciousness's brain. Thereby slowly transferring the consciousness to the clone body developed without a consciousness's brain.
  11. May 11, 2014 #10


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    This is no longer physics, and it involves a huge amount of speculation, i.e. what is this "consciousness" that you think you can transfer?

    Topic closed.

Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook