Map of the Cosmic Web generated from slime mould algorithm.Credit: NASA, ESA, and J. Burchett and O. Elek (UC Santa Cruz) The single-cell organism known as slime mould (Physarum polycephalum) builds complex web-like filamentary networks in search of food, always finding near-optimal pathways to connect different locations.  In shaping the Universe, gravity builds a vast cobweb-like structure of filaments tying galaxies and clusters of galaxies together along invisible bridges of gas and dark matter hundreds of millions of light-years long. There is an uncanny resemblance between the two networks, one crafted by biological evolution, the other by the primordial force of gravity. The cosmic web is the large-scale backbone of the cosmos, consisting primarily of dark matter and laced with gas, upon which galaxies are built. Even though dark matter cannot be seen, it makes up the bulk of the Universe’s material. Astronomers have had a difficult time finding these elusive strands,…



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