Our civilisation is based on extracting work from heat. This is what steam engines, cars, rockets do. In the steam engine fire boils water, expansion pushes a piston which turns a wheel which rolls. The engine turns heat into useful motion. Amazingly, the Greeks and Romans could have had such technology at the time of Christ if they'd have thought a little more about the aeolipile of Hero of Alexandria, which was indeed an embryonic steam engine. What they missed at the time was a theory of heat to suggest wider applications for it and better efficiency, but by then Greek science had become too metaphysical to bother with experimental anomalies, and the chance was lost.
It is my belief that we are in a similar situation now, but instead of heat and the aeolipile, mainstream physics is now ignoring the zero point field (ZPF) and a long list of anomalies, because it's chasing unfalsifiable hypotheses like dark matter and strings.
The zero point field (ZPF) was proposed by Einstein and Otto Stern in 1913 to better explain the behaviour of hydrogen gas at low temperature, and you can imagine it as a hidden sea of mass-energy everywhere. It is a sort of heat you can't feel, and that's because it is generally uniform everywhere and therefore, just as for a uniform temperature field, work was not thought to be extractable.
Then along came Casimir in 1948 and proposed that if you put two conducting plates very close together you damp the ZPF within the plates so the ZPF left outside pushes the plates together. The force is so tiny it took until 1997 for it to be measured and the significance of this has been lost because it is not a useable effect (just like the aeolipile). However, if a door is even slightly ajar, it can be pushed open, and what the Casimir effect is doing is tapping into a huge source of hidden energy, the ZPF, by forcing the waves in the ZPF to have nodes at 'horizons': in this case the parallel plates so some of them are disallowed and the ZPF becomes non-uniform and therefore it can effect the real world and become useful.
I've used this to extend physics so that it pays attention to the ZPF and how, when you put horizons in it, you can get new energy out (this is the basis of MiHsC). For example, the energy you get when you accelerate and a Rindler horizons forms behind you produces in MiHsC (via Unruh radiation) the energy needed for what we always called inertia, but never understood. Also, MiHsC predicts that the far-distant Hubble horizon produces cosmic acceleration and the galaxy rotation anomaly, and the predictions fit the data. The most controllable and repeatable example yet is the emdrive, which may be our aeolipile. MiHsC suggests that the asymmetry of its cavity makes a ZPF (Unruh radiation) gradient within it (the ZPF being supercharged by all the energy put in) and the cavity then rolls down that ZPF gradient (MiHsC predicts the emdrive fairly well, but not perfectly, see the paper below).
MiHsC is not complete yet, and I'd like to ask other physicists to help. At the moment what they are doing is trying to rescue an old paradigm from embarrassing new data, with the unfalsifiable hypotheses of dark matter and energy. This is unscientific. MiHsC offers a new paradigm which agrees more simply with the new data that Einstein could not have known about, brings the ZPF and horizons fully into physics and offers a way out of a civilisation based on heat, which is damaging our planet. It's quite elegant too.
McCulloch, M.E., 2015. Can the emdrive be explained by quantised inertia? Progress in Physics, 11, 78-80. Link.
McCulloch, M.E., 2015. Testing quantised inertia on the emdrive. EPL, 111, 60005. Link