I've suggested (& published in 21 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, 8 December 2017

Visit to St Andrews University

The University of St Andrews is one of the best in the UK, and its Physics and Astronomy department, according to the Guardian, is the best physics department in the UK, so, of course, they wanted to hear about quantised inertia (QI) :)

I went up there by train on Monday and stayed with them for a couple of nights and gave a seminar on quantised inertia on Tuesday. The talk seemed to go well since there were quite a few questions at the end, and no-one stood up and threw general relativity textbooks at me.

The most useful and enjoyable activity was discussing things informally, and often with a beer :) and Indian food, with the Professor who invited me, and two keen young cosmology PhD students who made some very good points. In the first meeting they made a toast to quantised inertia, and then they started, as they should, to try to pull apart the theory. That is a extremely fruitful approach.

Their first criticism went something like this. It seems inconsistent that I model a star orbiting round a galaxy by using the very low acceleration of its galactic orbit (v^2/r) and saying that the inertial mass has dropped because of QI (and thereby explaining anomalous galactic rotation without dark matter), but the actual components of the stellar system, say the Sun and Jupiter show a much higher mutual acceleration, and the atoms in the Sun for example are zooming around at very high acceleration, so shouldn't the inertia of the system be normal in QI?

I gave an answer to that in this blog post. That is still valid and I explained it to them (they had some questions about whether Rindler horizons mask the cosmic ones), but a simpler way to say this is that in quantised inertia, inertia is not a property of an object, but is a property of an interaction between objects. This makes philosophical sense, since an object alone in an empty universe would not be able to have any meaningful inertia because it would have no way to know if it was accelerating or not. I agree with Mach and the early Einstein so I do not see space-time as something that one can determine one's motion relative to. This means that for Jupiter, when you work out its response, in QI, to the gravity from the galactic centre, the inertia needs to be reduced in line with its low acceleration relative to the galactic centre (the inertia of that interaction), but when you work out Jupiter's response to the gravity from the Sun, the acceleration is large so the inertial mass in QI is not reduced. This means that the theory predicts the behaviour of the atoms in the Sun, the Sun and Jupiter, and the whole galaxy in a self-consistent way. It also means that each object has more than one inertia. The challenge remains how to encode this in the maths, and that was their other criticism: that the maths for QI is not yet fully formed, and does not use the same symbols or metrics as the maths they use, and this is advisable if I want cosmologists to start modelling with it.

I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to St Andrews University. The town itself is very pleasant: they have a city wall, huge golf links (though I don't play) and a beach, but I did not see it this time. I was told, and I thought it was very Scottish, that as a mild 'test of courage' the University gets students to walk along the pier in their gowns. My impression of the people in the Physics and Astronomy department was good because the audience I had seemed curious and open-minded (they did not look at me as if I was a bug, as sometimes happens!) yet they were keen to try to identify any problem. I noticed that someone in the department was also bothering to leave interesting articles lying open on tables for students to read, and the academics pin up their papers outside their doors. There was a general attitude, not of looking efficient, but of genuine interest in what they were doing.


Jimmy Johnson said...


What you described in your interaction with St Andrews University is the epitome of the Scientific Method at work. The attitude described is also likely the reason for the university's stellar reputation. The reward is that their graduates have a much better chance of making real progress in their fields.

That is not to say that the graduates from other universities schooled more in political machination will not end up being their managers and handing out the grant money. The perceived injustice of that reality really depends upon what upon what a person values: real achievement and progress in understanding one's calling or material wealth and societal perception of standing.

Jimmy Johnson

Andrew Jaremko said...

Mike - it's great that you'r getting your ideas examined and criticized by young and open physicists. Keep at it! 'Funeral by funeral, science advances..."

Additionally - I've been coming across some articles and videos that you may or may not have noticed. The first is the Juno spacecraft, in orbit around Jupiter, is apparently experiencing the flyby anomaly.The article I saw, at Universe Today:
has a link to the source paper, 'A possible flyby anomaly for Juno at Jupiter':

It occurs to me that Juno is going to collect quite a lot of anomaly data during its repeated passes. This should reduce error bars on the anomaly. It also occurs to me that there may be flyby anomaly data in the records of the Cassini mission trajectory changes and results. These wouldn't be so easy to tease out since each flyby was unique. Juno is much better, it seems to me, because each flyby is supposed to be the same.

I also found a general audience talk by Dr.Erik Verlinde at the Perimeter Institute on October 5, 2017, titled A New View on Gravity and the Dark Side of the Cosmos. After general background and other discussion, he comes to a discussion of the galactic rotation curves. Building on the earlier parts of his presentation, He derives a formula from 'entropy, temperature, entanglement... ' that is very like yours for QI. His is

GM/R*2 < cH

The video link to this portion of the presentation is

and his discussion of his alternative to the dark matter hypothesis and approach to gravity begins at

Just in passing - I think you've also answered young Richard Feynman's question to his father, about his ball moving backward in his wagon:

Another way of saying it might be that you've expanded Mach's principle to 'linear' motion as well as rotation. Both inertia and moment of inertia are relative to the universe inside our Hubble/causation horizon. This also fits (IMO) with Lee Smolin's desire to include the principle of 'no unreciprocated action' in the cosmological theory he is seeking. (In his books including Time Reborn and The Singular Universe, among others.)

You should set those eager youngsters loose on the experiments you propose as tests of QI. Keep at it!

Steve said...


It is great to hear about your experience with the St. Andrew's Physics department! Another commenter already mentioned it but having read your book and previous predictions on the flyby anomaly I am very curious how the repeatable datasets of similar orbits at various angles from Juno might fit in. It would be a giant shift in the right direction if the flyby anomaly gets more attention and investigation and perhaps at least leads to the idea that GR might need to be updated to account for Angular Acceleration. Baby steps for sure but as you are painfully aware it is a long arduous process to even get Dark Matter called into question.

Also, I'm not sure if this will prove relevant or not but I thought you might find interesting this recent paper on an Attractive force on atoms due to blackbody radiation:

Keep up the great work, don't get discouraged, and hopefully increasing technology will help lead to a smoking gun repeatable experiment that can be performed in a lab because it seems like that is what it might take to really shake things up!

joesixpack said...


Mostly unrelated, but what do you think of this paper?


"Regarding the feasibility of warp-drive configurations, a parallel line of research has focused on the study of their robustness against the introduction of quantum corrections
to GR"

Oh, I do believe that "quantum corrections" are very much the matter of lively debate!

The assumptions seem to prove the point, the fancy maths is like window dressing.

They might be right but I don't like their methodology.

I have a few other problems with the paper. White, who to me is the leading experimental researcher, in his talks does not mention an initial velocity of 0. He talks of sub-C speed initially and "boost'.

If black holes (and white holes) have never been directly observed, how are they a good conceptual anchor to the model they have mathematised? On the other hand, Unruh radiation (which is expected) has actually apparently been observed, albeit a few times only. However, how this is modeled with respect to the Dirac sea is divergent with MiHsC.


'By imposing over the spacetime a quantum state which is vacuum at the null infinities (i.e., what one may call the analog of the Boulware state for an eternal black hole) it was found that the renormalized stress-energy tensor (RSET) diverges at the horizons.'

This is a huge assumption for me. Why are they assuming this? My understanding is limited, but it is like they are assuming the normal state of the Dirac sea (maybe I am off track here) but it would assume away MiHsC, would it not?

I am also at a loss as to how the quantum states of eternal and finite black holes are used loosely.

Conceptually any radiation would simply pass around the spacecraft. I can't understand bending spacetime to move an object metres wide at velocities above C and then the gravitational lensing of this effect being non-existent.

Andrew Jaremko said...

Mike - here's Lee Smolin considering new physics - albeit rather tentatively. Here's his presentation at the Cosmology and the Future of Spacetime conference, June 14, 2017. At about 28 minutes into the 1 hour discussion he gets into the meat of his discussion, building to the rotation curves. He wants to connect low acceleration phenomena to quantum gravity, the Unruh effect, and quantum gravity.

Here's the link to the video:

Smolin also includes a discussion of Milgrom's MOND, and mentions the observations not explained by MOND.. But at least he says 'I hope I convince you, if I do nothing else, that this has to be taken seriously.’ He's aware of Verlinde's work on entropic gravity, which I think is what Verlinde is talking about in the presentation I linked to previously.

It seems several physicists are recognizing problems and trying to figure out how to tackle them. And they seem to be open to all efforts to explain and model them.

Anonymous said...

Sounds absolutely wonderful. What an enlightened university! Of course if astronomers are adamant that DM cannot exist, which they really are nowadays, then GR has to break somewhere, and I cannot understand why anyone would think that quantum gravity should stick to the constraints of GR anyway.

Anonymous said...

BTW Andrew J., I believe that Smolin actually cited Mike in a recent paper.

mikenyc said...

Does this past week's news affect your hypothesis?


joesixpack said...

Thanks for the video, Andrew.

Marni you are right. This is how academia should work. I have been to conferences that do work like this. They are uncommon. Likewise, I like Smolin's open-minded approach.

Smolin mentions the holographic principle: to an optimist like me, this is great.

If the number of dimensions is arbitrarily high, then perhaps technology like warp drives can reduce their energy demands by manipulation of physical dimensions.

If sixteen dimensions can be reduced down to two, then perhaps the energy input can be reduced by the fourteenth power?

However, after reading Mike's book; I am not convinced that more than 3+1 dimensions even exist. Conceptually I can understand vector space, momentum space and time in two dimensions. I can only observe four of those eight; the remaining eight come from string theory; which seems out of favour right now.

If there is quantum gravity in the special case of relative locality, does inertia, or MiHsC exist in this special case? However, this is contrary to the observed positive cosmological constant.

When Smolin's presentation hit the 26-minute mark, I thought "this is the same as QI, perhaps?"...just before the 48-minute mark, Smolin implies a minimum acceleration.

I still think there is a bias inherent in physics that C is assumed to be invariant, but I can cop that as long as it has never been observed. However: like Mike says, how would we know?

Yannick Selles said...

Some lecture available from Claude Poher at :


Anonymous said...


I think this experiment is done inside solar system, so you will never see a noticeable difference between gravitational mass and inertial mass...

QI predicts differences only when you are very far away from any mass, or near a very huge accelerated mass

Does this past week's news affect your hypothesis?


10 December 2017 at 14:47

Mike McCulloch said...

mikenyc, cc airenatural: Thank you for the news but the MICROSCOPE equivalence principle satellite experiment you refer to is a differential-drop experiment which will not be affected by quantised inertia. This is because the extra acceleration predicted by QI is independent of the mass: Galileo's two balls would still fall together but both very slightly faster. I discussed this here:


Nobody said...

Someone appears to have an interesting alternative to QI based on a re-interpretation of Newton's 2nd Law as also has conducted an experiment that proves inertia can be manipulated through electromagnetic means:

Website: http://tnp.net.gr/

Paper: http://vixra.org/abs/1604.0039


Paper: http://dx.doi.org/10.13140/RG.2.2.34298.39369

joesixpack said...

Unprintable PDFs means delete and ignore. Treat your audience with kindness. You are coming from a very unpopular position. I have tried to give you fair hearing and you've made it hard for me to consider your work.

Anonymous said...

Mike, you simply must read this short post on the difficulty I am having trying to publish a paper on QI: