I've suggested (& published in 15 journal papers) a new theory called quantised inertia (or MiHsC) that assumes that inertia is caused by relativistic horizons damping quantum fields. It predicts galaxy rotation, cosmic acceleration & the emdrive without any dark stuff or adjustment.
My Plymouth University webpage is here, I've written a book called Physics from the Edge and I'm on twitter as @memcculloch

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

The Data's the Thing

Actors have a saying "The play's the thing", ie: the play comes before the ego. Similarly scientist's should say: "The data's the thing."

According to Bill Watterson (author of the Calvin and Hobbes cartoon) scientific progress does sometimes go "Boink!" but according to history and common sense it never involves playing it safe and fudging 96% of the cosmos to preserve egos. Progress has always come from humility in the face of new data and thinking anew.

Quantised inertia is the result of pondering new data from the cosmic scale to the atomic, and I have had empirical success at various scales (cosmic scale, galactic scale and Solar system scale), but the lab scale is particularly useful because a desktop experiment can be easily controlled and reproduced. This is why the emdrive has caused such a furore: it is forcing people (well, some!) to question familiar physics for the first time in nearly a century. Not bad for a little copper cone. I do not discount the possibility it might still be wrong, but those who claim it is wrong have to say what it otherwise is, and not just say "it's wrong" as if they have God's phone number.

In all this it is important to keep focused on the data so here is a table of all the emdrive results so far. We have to be cautious because some of these results have been published with varying degree of peer-review (shown in bold) and some have not. I have also included a new result from 'monomorphic' on the NSF forum, so there are now 11 data points, seven of them published in conferences and one (NASA2016) in a mainstream journal.


The table gives a identifier for the experiment on the left in chronological order from top-bottom. The second column shows the thrust observed in milli-Newtons (mN). The third column shows the thrust predicted by quantised inertia (MiHsC) including the effect of dielectrics (which reduce the speed of light in the cavity). I submitted a paper on this dielectric version of quantised inertia to EPL about a month ago so I should have the reviewers' comments soon. The new 11th data point from monomorphic is shown at the bottom. His power input was 1 Watt, his Q value was 8100 and his cavity had no dielectric and was 0.24m long, and had wide and small end of diameter 0.299m and 0.178m respectively (according to his NSF posts, please correct me if I am wrong). The thrust he measured was 13 microN and quantised inertia predicts 14 microN.

Given all the data surely you have to agree that quantised inertia predicts pretty well for a theory that can not be adjusted and is still an approximation. It ideally needs a computer model, like COMSOL, to do it justice, because my usual technique of scribbling maths on bits of paper is unable to capture em-modes and their complex interaction with horizons.

It would be useful to compare the predictability of quantised inertia with that of the other emdrive theories by looking at some ratio of how accurately they predict the data, over the number of arbitrary parameters they need to do it, but I have not seen any comparison plots showing observations and calculations from the other theories (I may have missed them). If the Plymouth-Emdrive workshop gets off the ground, I will make sure it is empirical. Ernest Hemingway once said: "If a writer stops observing, then they are finished". I think the same thing goes for physicists.

Saturday, 18 February 2017

My response to the Forbes article

A few days ago an article appeared in Forbes magazine directly criticising me and quantised inertia. I understand that after working for decades on dark matter, many find quantised inertia difficult to accept. I do hope to persuade them slowly, but a debate should be based on empirical evidence and this article did not present any. It also misexplained quantised inertia, and vaguely attacked my attitude, so I need to answer it.

For example, the article accuses me of not addressing criticism, but all the comments I have received from the mainstream say I am violating a theory that only predicts 4% of the cosmos (in some sense). What exam can you pass with a mark of 4%? What matters to me is whether I am violating empirical data. No-one has shown that. It is true that I need to show how quantised inertia might fit together with general relativity, but that is a far lower priority than comparison with data, and to compare QI with GR some communication between me and general relativists needs to begin, but it has been cut off, and not by me. I haven't been accepted at a physics conference since 2012 and most physicists have refused my attempts to engage by email.

The article claims I am on some sort of mad slide into pseudoscience, but if you look at the facts: in every one of my 17 published papers I have tested quantised inertia against real data, and it worked without adjustment. In contrast there has never been any direct evidence for the dark matter the mainstream believe in, and the hypothesis is nothing but adjustment. So you have to conclude that it is the dark matterists who have been on the slide into pseudoscience for decades and the only reason they haven't noticed is they are all happily going down together, so self-correction has become impossible.

The article claims that Unruh radiation is so small it is incapable of generating an inertial force, but the author has not understood my papers: I have shown quite simply that when it is made non-uniform in space by relativistic horizons, Unruh radiation does produce the right amount of force. Please see this paper: preprint and a later one where Dr Jaume Gine corrected an error I made to give better results: journal.

The emdrive thrust (which QI predicts) is not "within the noise" as the article claims. The NASA emdrive paper went through five reviewers before being published. Of course, they and all of us may have missed some mundane effect we don't know about yet, but to suggest that all five reviewers do not know noise when they see it is implausible. Noise does not usually pass peer review.

The article says “How strongly verified [mainstream] theories are”. I have received such comments from many reviewers, especially recently, and I can never understand how this can be said with a straight face: mainstream theories predict only 4% of what we see. If that is 'strongly verified' than those words must be in a different language.

The article claims “This hodge-podge is misapplied”. How easy it is to say something like that, but what data proves it is misapplied? It is not enough just to say it and hope that people won't bother to think. Words must be supported by data, but there is no supporting empirical evidence anywhere in the article.

The article says QI “Overturns basic/established physics”. Well, I realise the difficulty of doing it, and do not take it lightly, but it is absolutely fine to modify fundamental physics so long as experiments are still satisfied, and they are. Quantised inertia has only a tiny effect in normal regimes, but it changes things in very low acceleration regimes, which is exactly where normal physics fails. It allows us to predict not 4% of nature, but much closer to all of it, offering an explanation for anomalies at low accelerations such as galaxy rotation and cosmic acceleration. Basic physics is self-contradictory anyway. We know its two halves (GR and quantum mechanics) do not fit together either formally, or causally with Bell test experiments. Quantised inertia allows us to fit it together a little more since the whole point of it is that relativity and quantum mechanics work together to make inertia.

Towards the end, the article bizarrely seems to accuse quantised inertia of being too successful, since it explains so much. First of all, since when is empirical success a crime? That is taking scepticism too far, and that does no-one any good. Also, the reason QI fits these anomalies, as well as the standard data, is because I designed it after looking at new data with an open mind. In my opinion, and I think history shows, that is exactly the right way to advance science and it is what the dark matterists have forgotten.

Quantised inertia is far from complete. It is an approximation to a full theory that I do not have yet. I need the help of other physicists and their great skills to look for the phenomena it predicts (see here) and flesh out the theory. The problem I have is the excruciating one of trying to persuade extremely well-educated and driven people, that I have no desire to antagonise at all, that they are wrong in this one matter, and enlisting their help (which I need) at the same time! If they wanted evidence for my lunacy then they could cite my hopeless optimism in this social respect.

My crucial point remains empirical: quantised inertia agrees with the data more simply than MoND or dark matter (see here for example). There is no way to get away from that fact. They can claim I'm a lunatic with delusions of gradeur (maybe I am, it is not for me to say) but after it all the mass of data that support quantised inertia will not go away, and in the end it will save all of us.

References

The Forbes aticle:  http://www.forbes.com/sites/briankoberlein/2017/02/15/quantized-inertia-dark-matter-the-emdrive-and-how-to-do-science-wrong/#29792c8617f9

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Dwarfs as a crucial test

My latest paper has just been accepted by the journal Astrophysics and Space Science (journal website) and I have already posted a preprint on Research Gate here. I will also post it on arXiv, but the arXiv have demoted me to the general physics section so I get very few reads from arXiv anyway. In a previous paper (McCulloch, 2012, see references below) and a new paper I have been submitting to various journals with no luck so far, I have shown that quantised inertia (QI, MiHsC) predicts the rotation of dwarf galaxies, spiral galaxies and galaxy clusters without dark matter or adjustment, but in this accepted paper, in a sudden bout of strategic thinking, I deliberately selected more extreme objects that other models cannot predict well, or at least not without becoming ridiculous.

These objects are the Milky Way dwarf galaxies: about 20 tiny galaxies orbiting close to the Milky Way. They have very little mass and so the accelerations of the stars within them are tiny, and the effect of quantised inertia should be more obvious, and indeed they show huge anomalies. The Figure below plots data from 11 of these systems (those for which data on masses and speed is available) against their visible mass in Solar masses (on the x axis) and the spin velocity of their stars (y axis). The observed speeds are shown by the open squares, their names are also shown, and the errors in the speeds are shown by the vertical bars.

Given the visible mass in them, good old Newton would have predicted that the maximum speed the stars might achieve without breaking free should be the speed shown by the small crosses at the bottom of the plot. Newton would look at this data and say: "Bah! They should fly asunder! I shall have another crack at that." The dwarfs obviously don't fly apart since they look more or less round, so to make it all work out astrophysicists who don't wish to change the old theories (GR predicts similarly) add just enough invisible dark matter to these systems to hold them in. The trouble is that in these dwarf cases they have to add the dark stuff in amounts that make the actual laws of normal physics pretty irrelevant (amounts of dark mass several hundred times the amount of visible matter) so these systems are governed mostly by convenient dark 'magic'.

MoND is far more specific than dark matter, so it is a better hypothesis, but MoND also has the problem that it needs a 'little bit' of magic: an adjustable parameter which is set by trial and error to 'make' its predictions fit the data. Adjustable parameters are simply an admission that one does not know what the dingo's kidney is going on. Anyway, MoND underpredicts the speeds a bit, and the rms difference between the data and the predictions is 3.6 km/s (By the way, entropic gravity also cannot predict these dwarfs since it predicts the anomalies should be greatest at large scales, but these dwarfs show that galaxy rotation anomalies are greatest at low accelerations, rather than large scales).

The predictions of quantised inertia, QI/MiHsC, don't depend on scale, but depend, correctly, on low acceleration, and are shown in the plot by the black triangles. They are closer to the observations than MoND (the rms difference is 3.2 km/s) but the main point is that quantised inertia beats MoND (albeit slightly) WITHOUT an arbitrary adjustable parameter. Nothing is input to QI apart from the visible matter, the speed of light and the cosmic diameter (all quantities that can be observed). I now have the beginnings of the feeling you get in chess when you are approaching the end game with the advantage (I recognise this feeling, though I have not had it very often!) and I hope that physicists do not just try to throw the chess board out of the window, but show some interest in how it was done.

References

McCulloch, M.E., 2012. Testing quantised inertia on galactic scales. Astrophysics and Space Science, Vol. 342, 2, 575-578. ResearchGate preprint, ArXiv preprint

McCulloch, M.E., 2017. Low-acceleration dwarf galaxies as tests of quantised inertia. Astrophysics and Space Science (accepted). Online

Saturday, 4 February 2017

Proxima Centauri or Bust

The fastest object launched by man so far is the New Horizons probe which was launched directly into a Sol escape trajectory and is traveling now beyond Pluto at 16.26 km/s. At this speed it would get from London to New York in about 6 minutes. Even so, it would get to our nearest stellar neighbour, Proxima Centauri, if it was heading that way, in 78,600 years. This is the state of our space propulsion at the present time. Pretty weenie!

What we need to do is to get close enough to the speed of light so that relativistic time dilation slows time down from those on the ship (and keep the acceleration time short, because it does the opposite) so that physics gives us a kind of built-in suspended animation. Slo-time for those on the ship, but not for those back on Earth. In this way, say at half light speed you could get to Proxima Centauri in 8 years (measured from the Earth) and 4 years as measured on the ship. A four year trip to explore/settle another Solar system is not that bad! It is theoretically possible, but the big problem, and it's a pretty big one as problems go, is that to get a ship of similar size as the Space Station (400 tonnes) to 0.5c would take about 27 times the entire energy output of our civilisation per year. Another way of looking at it is that that you'd need to carry a planet-sized amount of fuel.

But, in my opinion, and I believe I now have enough evidence for quantised inertia / MiHsC / horizon dynamics to say this boldly, there is another way. The zero point field predicted by Einstein and Stern (1913) is all around us and we have been mostly oblivious to it. It is like air pressure: an intense 100,000 Newtons per metre. We don't notice it because it is uniform, but if you try to make it non-uniform (ie: make a vacuum) you suddenly notice it, because if you don't build a tough vacuum chamber then it would implode violently.

A kind of 'vacuum' can be made in the zero point field using two metal plates placed very close to each other (the Casimir effect) and this also makes a force as has been confirmed experimentally. Quantised inertia says that whenever a metal plate, or an object's acceleration, or a limit-to-what-we-can-view makes a 'horizon', then this damps the zero point field making it non-uniform and able to push on the objects. In this way quantised inertia simply explains the previously unexplained phenomenon of inertia, galaxy rotation without dark matter, cosmic acceleration without dark energy, and the emdrive.

We can apply all this to our travel problem. Imagine a spaceship with a horizon in front of it (see Figure). The horizon would damp the zero point field in front of the ship, making something like a virtual vacuum there. Suddenly there would be a force (analogous to the force caused by the air-vacuum) that would pull the ship forwards. Note that no heavy fuel is required, just a horizon/shield. The emdrive, in my opinion, is doing just this, and quantised inertia predicts the emdrive's thrust very well (see recent post).

Mainwhile mainstream physics is, in my opinion, wasting millions searching for dark matter that quantised inertia has shown is not needed, and other studies have also falsified. The mainstream should really start to pay attention to quantised inertia. They could help immensely: there is a lot of scope for improvement and extension of the theory. The bonuses would be a unification of physics (quantised inertia combines quantum mechanics and relativity), an explanation for astrophysical anomalies like galaxy rotation, and cosmic acceleration, and the opening up of entire new kind of horizon-engineering (which amounts to an manipulation of space-time, for lifting, transport and launching). We could also stop messing around in space weenie-town and start thinking of galactic settlement. No other planet in our Solar system is pleasantly habitable, but many other Solar systems will have their 'Earths' at just the right distance from their sun.  There's a possibly habitable planet orbiting Proxima Centauri. Wouldn't it be fascinating to visit?

"Really mankind, the plans for demolition have been available on Alpha Centauri which is only 4 light years away you know. I'm sorry, but if you can't be bothered with local affairs than it's your own fault..." - Prostetnic Vogon Jeltz' comments on the demolition of Earth to make way for a new hyperspace bypass (Douglas Adams).

Saturday, 28 January 2017

The Proton Radius Anomaly

Imagine you are in a little rowing boat, rowing round an island and you notice that your boat always gets washed towards the shore. There is no surprise, since there are likely to be more ocean waves hitting you from the open sea than from the direction of the island.

On a not entirely unrelated subject, many recent experiments (Pohl, 2010, 2016) have shown that muons (heavy electrons) in a close orbit around the proton in so-called 'muonic hydrogen' appear to be bound to the proton a more than expected, a bit like the boat is to the island. This can also be interpreted as a 'proton radius anomaly' where the proton appears to have gone on a diet, and this is what this anomaly is usually called, but an extra binding energy can just as well explain the data. Both possibilities are far too big to be explained by the standard model of physics which has no mechanism by which the proton can go on a diet or suddenly become more attractive to muons (see previous blog).

So, to cut to the chase, can Unruh radiation explain it? I have found that it can explain roughly 55% of it. If you calculate how much Unruh radiation is seen by the orbiting muon and how much of that is blocked by the central proton, just like the island blocks waves from the point of view of the boat, then this predicts that more Unruh radiation hits the muon from outside the atom than from the centre, pushing the muon closer to the proton. The predicted extra binding energy is about 55% of the observed extra binding energy. The normal proton-electron atom does not show an anomaly because an electron orbits 200 times further out than the muon and so the solid angle of the central proton is tiny and the sheltering is negligible (see the reference below for details, McCulloch, 2017).

To go further, this attraction looks a little bit like gravity, which also tends to pull matter together. Wouldn't it be funny if Fatio / Le Sage were right about gravity after all, but instead of it being due to a sheltering of electromagnetic radiation, which has been falsified, it is due to a sheltering of Unruh radiation by protons?

I recently saw an episode of Friends (The One Where Heckles Dies). It amused me because the character Phoebe declares "Gravity seems to be to be not so much pulling me down, as pushing". Maybe the writers here had something, and although Phoebe should listen to Ross about the solid evidence for evolution, her 'scientific arrogance' speech later on in the episode was brilliant: "There was a time when the greatest minds on the planet thought that the world was flat! Are you telling me that there is not the slightest chance that you might be wrong about this?". A plea for humility that is much needed in physics.

Evidence from galaxies and all other low acceleration systems shows something big and deep is rotten in the state of physics. I've managed to show that quantised inertia can clear up some of the mess. What about gravity? It has never sat well with quantum mechanics. In my recent (2016) EPL paper I managed to derive part of gravity as well as quantised inertia from the uncertainty principle. This proton radius anomaly might represent a better line of attack since, as I always prefer, there is some direct data to show the way.

References

Pohl, R. et al., 2010. Nature, 466, 213. http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v466/n7303/full/nature09250.html

Pohl, R. et al., 2016. Science, 353, 6300. http://science.sciencemag.org/content/353/6300/669

McCulloch, M.E., 2017. The proton radius anomaly from the sheltering of Unruh radiation, Progress in Physics, Vol. 13, 2, 101-102. http://www.ptep-online.com/index_files/2017/PP-49-05.PDF

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

How Unruh radiation makes inertia

The core of MiHsC / quantised inertia / horizon mechanics*, is the idea that the property known for centuries as inertia is caused by an asymmetry in Unruh radiation (an asymmetric Casimir effect). I have already discussed the evidence for Unruh radiation itself here (Fulling-Davies-Unruh radiation), and how quantised inertia (introduced here) predicts galaxy rotation exactly, and cosmic acceleration, without any dark stuff, but many people have asked how can a process based on the zero point field, so weak in the Casimir effect, could have such a large effect on matter that it produces inertia. How can it be?

Well, it can be. This can be shown with simple maths and the schematic below. The black circle is a Planck mass. Let us say that for some reason it is accelerating to the left (purple arrow), so a combination of quantum mechanics and relativity says that it sees a warm bath of Unruh radiation (orange colour). Relativity then says that information from far to the right (from the black zone) is limited to the speed of light and so cannot reach the mass, so this is its 'unknowable space'. A Rindler horizon forms to separate that space from the known space. Now as far as the mass is concerned, there is no space beyond the horizon and waves need space to wiggle in. So this horizon damps the Unruh waves on the right, creating a colder Unruh bath there (blue area). The gradient in the Unruh radiation means that more thermal energy bangs into the Planck mass from the left than from the right and so it is pushed back against its initial acceleration. Another way to think about this is that energy is now extractable from the difference in (virtual) heat.



Maths helps us to be specific. The wavelength (L) of the Unruh radiation seen by a mass of acceleration 'a' is

L = 8c^2/a

The c is the speed of light, a huge number, so that the c^2 in the numerator makes the Unruh wavelength usually very long. A sperm whale falling in Earth's gravity would see Unruh waves a lightyear long, but probably wouldn't last long enough (a year) to measure one passing by. The energy in the Unruh field on the left is then

E1 = hc/L = hca/8c^2 = ha/8c

The energy in the Unruh field on the right is

E2=0

Using normal physics, the force on the mass is the energy gradient from left to right across the diameter of the mass

F = dE/dx = ((E1-E2)/d = ((ha/8c)-(0))/d

F = ha/8cd

This looks suspiciously like Newton's second law: F=ma, and suggests that m=h/8cd

For a Planck mass d is the Planck length so the predicted mass is m=1.7x10^-8 kg. The accepted Planck mass is 2.2x10^-8 kg. In other words, at least in this case of the Planck mass, the Unruh effect is strong enough to produce inertia. It predicts the accepted numbers quite well even in this simple analysis which leaves out a lot of detail. As I said in my 2013 paper on this (see below): to make this process work for larger particles, you can't just put in a larger diameter d. You have to add up the effect of each Planck mass.

References

McCulloch, M.E., 2013. Inertia from an asymmetric Casimir effect. EPL, 101, 59001. Preprint

--
Horizon mechanics* = A new name suggested to me by J.M. Dorman.

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

A Taste of Kafka

Well, before I start I should say that most journals I have dealt with have been fair, but I'm having a bad month it seems, and every so often one is entitled to a rant. It's therapeutic for me and I think it is illuminating, maybe, for people to see the agonizing effort I'm making to try and squeeze my papers through peer review.

I've written a paper that gives good observational evidence that quantised inertia / MiHsC models 153 galaxies in the SPARC dataset without dark matter and without any adjustment of any kind. I've discussed this comparison on this blog too. I've submitted the paper on it to four journals so far. I've just received this frustrating reply from the editor of the 4th one:

Dear Dr. McCulloch:

I am writing to you with regard to your manuscript cited above, which you recently submitted to the (name of journal). I regret to tell you that we are not able to undertake further consideration of your submission for publication in the (name of journal group).


In case you are waiting for the scientific reason, that is the end of the message! This isn't the only meaningless response I've had in my career but surely science can do better! The whole point of science is that an empirical, or at least rational, reason has to be given for decisions. The Royal Society decided in about 1600 that science worked better this way. Otherwise, instead of rational progress you get hidden elites deciding whatever they want in their own interests. Recently, as I have written papers that show more and more clearly that quantised inertia works far better than dark matter, I have increasingly received vague responses like this. The editor clearly is unable to find any fault with quantised inertia, and yet is unwilling to even consider it. Why? I don't mind being rejected for a rational reason, but I get a mediaeval or Kafkaesque chill when my papers are rejected for no reason at all.

My reply to the editor was:

Dear Editor,

You have to give a reason, since you represent a scientific journal.

Mike


No response. If you have any advice on which journal I can next submit myself to, please let me know. Readers Digest? I always wanted to submit there..