I've suggested (& published in 18 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

Friday, 9 June 2017

Announcing: the New Physics channel

So many television programmes are made about dark matter, black holes and string theory using computers to hide with fancy graphics what they completely lack in solid evidence. I don't have access to fancy graphics but I have made a powerpoint video based on my recent seminar at Exeter University. It explains how quantised inertia predicts galaxies without dark matter, and the emdrive thrusts as well. I hope it is at least clear:

Please do give me constructive feedback on this video, and tell me what you'd like to hear about, and I will try and produce some more of them.


Jimmy Johnson said...


Here are some comments on your presentation:

Overall I find the presentation to be extremely clear, logical, and well supported by pictures and with references. You would think this would be a minimum requirement, but unfortunately such is not the case in the current scientific climate. In fact because it is so clearly and logically presented it leaves little wiggle room for refutation by proponents of the opinion based theories that are currently in vogue.

One area where changes could be made with beneficial effect is at the point where you introduce Rindler Horizons and the Unruh effect. You have been working with these concepts for so long that they have become almost trivially obvious to you. These concepts are neither obvious nor simple. A reference to a paper explaining the reason for a Rindler horizon, or some basic explanation in the presentation of how an accelerating observer can be isolated from part of the universe would help the audience follow your explanation.

Another area for development is an explanation how one would go about determining which of the theories, dark matter, MOND theory, and QI (MiHsC) is correct. Dark matter is in one respect easy to refute since its nature violates most of what scientific concepts require. From the graphs you presented MOND theory predictions, albeit dependent upon an arbitrary constant, fit the data as well as QI predictions. For example, if the a0 of MOND theory is more than just arbitrary, but in fact needs to be adjusted in each case to fit the data, that would weaken it substantially.

Because QI is not a generally accepted theory it starts out with a heavy initial burden to overcome (I would argue that the same burden applies to MOND theory, and Dark Matter is not even a theory). For this reason I would not place the Emdrive predictions in the main body along with the galaxy and cluster rotation predictions. It is like putting one foot on a skateboard and the other on a banana peel. The Emdrive data could turn out to be a systematic measurement error, and QI could still be a totally valid theory. If it turns out that the Emdrive is a systematic error strongly associating the much more basic QI theory with it would likely irrecoverably tar QI.

I would move the Emdrive calculations to a separate section that describes one particular set of calculations that QI can make that other theories have no way of handling. You can also mention other examples that you have explained in your blog.

As an aside, I am very much enamored of the Emdrive and hope some space based or other unequivocal test can be performed soon. There is no doubt that we need some other method than expelling reaction mass or solar sails to get out of the solar system. However, if Emdrive turns out to be a measurement anomaly related another effect it would be a shame if its failure sunk QI. If science was supported, judged, and run based upon logic, facts, and the scientific method there would be no danger of such an occurrence. Unfortunately the current control of science has fallen to the level of politics and the news where the expressions, "I think", "I feel", and “I believe" carry much more weight than measurable factual data.

Jimmy Johnson

Brian Moore said...

I very much liked the presentation.

A few specific points:

Best I understand Dark Matter (which is almost not at all) it constitutes some magical matter that doesn't emit any sort of electromagnetic radiation, and doesn't physically interact with matter in any way. In fact the only way it interacts at all, is as gravity through mass. Such a perfectly constrained material, that only affects one thing without having to tradeoff disruptive impacts elsewhere, seems too convenient. Like you have 100 gravitational anomalies, and you're using it to solve for 100 arbitrary, independent quantities of dark matter at certain locations.

My view of Dark Matter maight be too simplistic and uncharitable (and you don't want to make any statements like that because the best way to get people to trivialize your theory is to trivialize theirs), but that's what it seems like for me. An unconstrained thumb on the scale. To whatever degree this is true, it would probably be worth putting a slide or two in it explaining this failure of predictive power.

Second, Your comments on the EM drive are good, but it may be worth some extra prevarication. The EM drive hasn't been proven yet. If it is, then your predictions of it will become strong proof. But if it isn't, you don't want people to conflate the falsification of the EM drive with the falsification of your theory. It may be worth the sentence: "If the EM drive truly does provide a propulsive force, my theory may be able to explain it. If my conceptual model applies to photons near conductors, then the resonate cavity may act as a horizon...."

Third, your comparison between MiHsC and MOND for fitting galaxy rotations. You talk about MOND needing an adjustible parameter to fit the data, while MiHsC doesn't. Yet that graph has 5 lines on it, 4 of which are MiHsC with an adjusted parameter (ie the Hubble constant over time). I think this is an issue with trying to show too much at once, and getting things confused. You should probably show a different graph first, with just MOND and MiHsC (at z=0) to show good fitting. Maybe even show how MOND's prediction changes with its adjustable parameter. Then show the graph you have now, and separate the first thought (predicts galaxy rotation well w/o tuning) with the second thought (a prediction, and thus good avenue for experiment for falsification of MiHsC is that rotation vs size of galaxy should change over time as Hubble constant changes). You could even take a moment to soapbox about the importance of theories making falsifiable predictions.

Forth, the presentation is 30 minutes long. And I think that's perfectly fine. But given that people are giving you 30 minutes to hear the concept of your theory, I think they'd rather hear 35 minutes, and be shown some graphs regarding a number of other anomalies MiHsC predicts well. You've posted several on your blog, and predicting 5 disconnected anomalies is going to hold a lot more weight in people's minds than predicting 2, plus the EM drive.

My personal thoughts, take them as you will.

Oh, wait, number 5. Hire one of those dramatic Blockbuster Trailer Voice actors to read the script. It can't hurt.

Gaaark said...

I am not a physicist, but a person with an interest in physics: I've been enjoying your blog and just wanted to tell you that to encourage you (you have lurkers who may not speak up).
Yes, please do continue with a physics channel, especially with a subject that DOES make sense, unlike dark matter and energy.

Thanks for the work you do and the blog.
Also, I found the volume too low on the video. :)

(Another Mike.)

Mike McCulloch said...

Jimmy: Thank you for the useful comments. Rindler horizons are difficult, but an animation would be great way to explain them..

Re MoND: I can show empirically that QI is better than MoND: galaxy rotation speeds vary with redshift and you need to arbitrarily put a different parameter a0 into MoND for older galaxies, whereas QI predicts the changes into the past with no adjustment.

Czeko said...

The nano tip experiment is maybe one of the best setup to explain how the unruh radiation could be seen in a laboratory.

I would extend this part further and remove the EM drive 'speculation'. EM drive is way too much slippery imo... It is nice to try to find an explanation and see if your theory fits but until the effect is confirmed, it deserves QI/MiHsC.

Also, get a proper microphone. What an horrible audio recording... :)

Mike McCulloch said...

Brian: Thanks, good comments which I will bear in mind. The questions of how to show what an unscientific hypothesis dark matter is without aggravating people, and how to decide how much to mention emdrive are very difficult. On the one hand I tend to look for anomalies as being signposts to new physics, but of course anomalies are always controversial. It's seems to be a rule though, that if you want to make progress, you have to be unpopular for awahile.

I will try to incorporate your comments into a new video. I'll try to make my narration clearer. One of my friends recently said that my voice is "Not a radio voice", and I'd love to get Patrick Stewart or Brian Blessed to narrate, but I probably can't afford them.

Mike McCulloch said...

Gaaark: Thank you for your encouragement. I will buy a new microphone.

Czeko said...


For recording your voice (and make your video more attractive), there is a nice tutorial there:


Might be a bit overkill on some parts but this will bootstrap you to proper (and hopefully better) voice over recording.

Mike McCulloch said...

Czeko: Thanks. I will try and say more about the nanotip experiment which I think is crucially important as a first step. I should email Beversluis et al and ask them to do it again, maybe with a nanotip with varying slope to see if the radiation depends on the acceleration, as it would if it was Unruh radiation.

tammor said...

Hi Mike,

Why do you think that we might see Unruh radiation in the nanotip experiment?
It is a known fact that accelerating charges emit electromagnetic radiation.
How can someone differentiate between the two?


Czeko said...

@tammor, Mike did a blog entry for that some month ago. Here is a link to the blogpost:


klporay said...

Hi Mike,

I'm one of the lurkers. As a non expert here are my humble thoughts:

1. It would be great to understand what do you actually mean when you say you can predict the inertial mass within 26%. Does it mean that you can predict the inertial mass of an elementary particle (I guess not)?
2. Regarding the EmDrive explanation, I'm still fuzzy as to where the momentum comes from. At the end of the day the closed system exhibits net momentum towards the narrow end. You say that as waves travel towards the narrow end they lose momentum and so the system moves to conserve momentum, but you say that when they are at the wide end they gain momentum. So they gain less momentum than they lose? Gain/lose from/to where?


Frank Becker said...

@klporay, the assumption is that at the wide end of the cavity (due to the side walls too) a volume is established where due to size limitation only Unruh waves are allowed with wavelengths less as the wider width. Same goes for the smaller end. A volume with more allowed Unruh waves provide a higher radiation pressure, thus the inertial mass in increasing. In the net the balance point of the cavity is shifting towards the wider end. Imagine you have a box on a string like a pendulum and one side of the box gets more heavy. The balance point is modified and by the law of conservation of momentum the box will move (swing) towards the smaller side. Same goes for any crane lifting a not uniform distributed weight which will swing that the balance point is at the most bottom. Now an more difficult and complex thought is that a photon by present definition has no mass. Also (except considerations of dielectric and refraction index) the photon is not able to alter the speed. So reacting on the different level of Unruh radiation it could be assumed that the inertial mass change is substituted in a change in momentum. As p = m * v does not provide a direct modification opportunity we could consider per E = mc^2 that with different Unruh environment as mass could not formally altered the energy is modified. This energy might be freed on impact with the side walls. This analogy could also being interpreted as a not symmetrical situation pushing the cavity. This are kind of simply summaries about the estimated anomalies where we should guess the reality is more complex, but for a start to visualise what might go on perhaps adequate enough to give a first insight.

Mike McCulloch said...

klporay: Good questions. The 26% means that quantised inertia predicts the Planck mass to within 26% (and this is in agreement given the simplifications in the model). Specifically if you consider a Planck mass and accelerate it to the right, relativity predicts a horizon forms on the left. This damps the quantum vacuum on the left so there is now a gradient in it, and the mass roll down the gradient.

Your puzzlement at where the energy comes from is, in my opinion, similar to the puzzlement that people had when Count Rumford produced heat energy apparently from nothing, by boring screws into wood. One way to think about it is that new energy is appearing due to the once-uniform quantum vacuum getting a gradient. Another way to think of it is that a horizon blocks off part of spacetime from the point of view of the accelerated object and so the dx in Heisenberg's relation reduces, so dp or dE increases: new energy. This dx.dp approach is discussed in my paper here:


joesixpack said...

Great first video. Easy to understand for non-physicists and backed up with peer reviewed references. Keep them coming!

You should try to get a TED talk or similar.

David Anjelo said...

wikipedia responded to your video .

"In certain select cases symmetries can be broken. In these well-tested and verified instances where matter appears to violate conservation laws, the apparent non-conservation is in reality an interaction with the vacuum so that overall symmetry in the system is restored.[54][55] It can be shown that based on the assumption of homogeneous electric and magnetic fields it is impossible for the EmDrive, or any other device, to extract a net momentum transfer from either a classical or quantum vacuum.[48] An often cited example of apparent nonconservation of momentum is the Casimir effect;[56] in the standard case where two parallel plates come together, energy can be extracted from the vacuum, but the plates move in opposite directions, so no net momentum is extracted and moreover energy must be put into the system in order to take the plates apart again.[48] The magnitude and direction of the Casimir effect depends on the size, geometry and topology of the cavity and field.[57][48] Extraction of a net momentum "from nothing"[58][59] has been postulated in an inhomogeneous vacuum but this remains highly controversial as it will violate Lorentz invariance.[48] If the EmDrive were able to induce an instability in the vacuum it may be able to produce a net force in this way,[46][47] Both Harold White's[60][61][62][56] and Mike MucCulloh's[63] theory of how the EmDrive works rely on these asymmetric or dynamical Casimir effects. However, if these vacuum forces are indeed present, they are expected to be exceptionally tiny based on our current understanding; So even assuming this mechanism is present, these forces are unlikely to explain the level of observed thrust.[48][64][65] In the unlikely event that the observed force is not an experimental error, a positive result is believed to be indicative of new physics"


Mike McCulloch said...

Joesixpack: Thanks. I'd like to give a TED talk, but you have to be invited and at the moment I can't even get the mathematicians at my own university to invite me! (tho physicists at Exeter did).

Mike McCulloch said...

David: Glad wikiland responded. Maybe someday they'll reinstate the wiki page on MiHsC/QI that they deleted.

joesixpack said...

I think you should try Coast to Coast AM, if you can handle the callers.

Yes, they get a lot of cranks, but they had Lawerence Krauss recently. He was banging on about dark matter!

Mike McCulloch said...

Joesixpack: I'm happy to appear on any radio show that asks, to get the message out. On the latest one I did, The Space Show, someone from the UK phoned up and asked about the consequences of QI for plant growth which threw me for awhile!