I've suggested (& published in 21 journal papers) a new theory called quantised inertia (or MiHsC) that assumes that inertia is caused by horizons damping quantum fields. It predicts galaxy rotation & lab thrusts without any dark stuff or adjustment. My University webpage is here, I've written a book called Physics from the Edge and I'm on twitter as @memcculloch. Most of my content is at patreon now: here

Thursday 14 March 2024

The Hubble "Tension"

If you say boo to a goose and it flies away, rather than attacking you as they used to at York University, then the sounds you hear coming from it will shift to a lower frequency as the waves from your point of view are spread out. This is the Doppler effect and applies to light waves as well. As we know, Edwin Hubble noticed that the light from distant galaxies was red shifted, that is, the wavelength of the light we received from them was longer, implying that the galaxies were moving away from us and that the further ones were moving away faster than the closer ones. This was taken to mean that all the galaxies were moving away from a common centre as if there had been a Big Bang (or a Big Boo) 13.6 billion years in the past.

Looking at local galaxies, the Hubble expansion rate has been measured to be 73 km/s/Mpc. That is, galaxies one megaparsec (Mpc) away from us are apparently moving away from us at 73 km/s.

Recently, a new method was devised to calculate the Hubble constant from observations of the Cosmic Microwave Background, that represents the cosmos long ago at a redshift of Z=1000, and then extrapolating forward using standard models assuming dark matter and dark energy. Perhaps not surprisingly they got a different answer: 67.7 km/s/Mpc.

This discrepancy is now much bigger than the uncertainties in these two numbers, so it is significant (Reiss et al., 2019). As is usual in physics now, to avoid offending anyone, this is called "The Hubble Tension", but in fact it is a falsification of the present model (as stated, the difference is larger than the error bars).

What does QI have to say about this? Well, there is an interesting link up. If you look at the difference in these speeds you get 73 - 67.7 = 5.3 km/s/MPc. Scaling this up to the speed at the edge of the cosmos you get 155,000 km/s and if you calculate an acceleration from this by dividing by the age of the universe you get

Acceleration = 3.8x10^-10 m/s^2

This is the mutual acceleration of both sides of the cosmos and we just want that of one, so when we divide by two we get about 2x10^-10 m/s^2. Those who know about quantised inertia, QI (surely most of you reading by now) will see immediately that this is the minimum cosmic acceleration predicted by QI as 2c^2/CosmicScale = 2x10^-10 m/s^2. So maybe the Hubble "Tension" is just the fact that they left QI out of their model!

Note that there is probably more to this, as I'm not sure I believe in the physical acceleration model either, but you must admit this does all fit rather well!


Riess, A. et al., 2019. Large Magellanic Cloud Cepheid Standards Provide a 1% Foundation for the Determination of the Hubble Constant and Stronger Evidence for Physics beyond ΛCDM. The Astrophysical Journal, Volume 876, Issue 1, article id. 85, 13 pp.

Tuesday 6 February 2024

The 18th Birthday of Quantised Inertia

Recently, last Thursday, it was the 18th Birthday of Quantised Inertia. Back then, in 2006 I was a humble ocean and wave modeller at the UK Met Office in Exeter, with a hobby of thinking about physics in the evenings. It was on the 1st February, 2006 that I first realised that Newton’s First Law was slightly wrong (ie: QI) and that this was a big step

I gave my first talk on QI (then I called it MiHsC) later that year at the Alternative Gravities Conference at the Royal Observatory in Edinburgh where I had the last talk, and I nearly did not get to speak as they all wanted to go to the pub! In 2007 I published the first paper on QI. One of my colleagues at the Met Office told me I shouldn’t have such grandiose dreams, weathermen should stay below Karman Line. I submitted anyway and my first paper on QI was accepted by MNRAS (a prestigious astronomical journal). The reviewer was delightfully amused that I’d used the term ‘forecast’ instead of ‘predict’ and did not quite believe QI, he said, but he also said it was better than the alternatives he'd seen already published, so why not publish?

By 2008, I’d published enough papers to leave the Met Office and get into academia at Plymouth University, lecturing in geomatics (the maths of positioning in space) which was a subject vague enough to fit. I enjoyed the teaching, and my courses on GPS Positioning stimulated me to develop a better way to formulate QI, using uncertainty in position and information. I finally managed to show that QI predicts galaxy rotation without dark matter which is a massive result, and very clear in that even the onset of the anomaly is predicted well, and I was invited by World Scientific to publish a monograph.

In some papers I mentioned producing thrust from QI, and a few years later DARPA got in touch (2016), said they'd been "following my work for some time", and invited me to apply for funds. I applied and won $1.3M to test for what I’d predicted: thrust from highly accelerated objects in cavities. We first tried photon cavities. I used labs in Germany and Spain, which I was soon unable to visit due to covid, but the photons were too light (pun intended) to work. Fortunately along came engineers Becker and Bhatt who'd read my papers and they suggested electron cavities instead (capacitors). That seemed to work in their lab and IVO Ltd (Richard Mansell) confirmed and improved on it. I managed to get DARPA funds to Plymouth to replicate it with engineer Richard Arundal (a paper is in review) and now IVO have launched a test into space via SpaceX and Rogue Space Systems! Another recent development is that Lynch et al. (2021) have finally confirmed Unruh radiation using CERN data. Morgan Lynch emailed me excitedly to tell me. This is good for QI, which has been assuming its existence for 18 years!

Now I am temporarily between jobs, busy with new QI books (one sci-fi and one text book) and papers, but given the crazy acceleration of the past few years, there is some relief in pausing to decide how best to progress. QI (my hobby) is so big now: a radical change to physics, thrust, clean energy, interstellar travel... It needs development for the sake of getting humanity to the next level, yes, but to avoid burn out I do need to get back to the feeling that this is a deep scientific exploration & not just the race of all time.

Keep Calm and Quantise Inertia!

Thursday 30 November 2023

QI Takes Off

It is thrilling to know that the first spacecraft designed to test for thrust from quantised inertia (QI) is now up there. Designed and built by IVO Ltd, and launched on the 11th November aboard a SpaceX, Falcon 9 and sharing a cubesat belonging to Rogue Space Systems, it is now in a good low Earth orbit and IVO are monitoring it for a month to get statistics good enough to provide a baseline. At some point soon they will switch on the quantum drive and see if the orbit changes. If it does then the world will change with it. Very appropriately to the spirit of QI physics which has always been open to all, hence this blog, you can monitor the orbital data of the satellite (called Barry-1) for yourself here:


For more information you can see an article in The Debrief by Christopher Plain, with quotes from Richard Mansell, the CEO of IVO Ltd:


There's also a good article in Forbes by David Hambling, who has been following QI and related issues for a few years now, so he has a good grasp of it. It has quotes from Shawyer and myself:


Little did I know when I started scribbling on bits of paper back in 2006 (I was then a lowly scientist at the Met Office), that two years later I'd get an academic post and start this blog, six years later be invited to write a book, 11 years later get £1M in DARPA funds and 17 years later a US company would launch a test of QI into space! More will follow. It's been a thrilling ride, with a few temporary downs, but massive ups, including this launch. The pace is accelerating as well. My main hope is that I can continue to think calmly about fundamental physics as this all takes off!

Thursday 26 October 2023

Free Fall, & The Lord Hates a Coward

I had a bit of an epiphany recently while explaining the weightlessness of free fall to my son - a way to see it using horizons. The insight that Einstein had in 1907 that a falling man would not feel his own weight was apparently the happiest thought of his life, and although I admire Einstein, I've always been wary about this evidence-less thought. It is almost as if Einstein was trying to convince himself. The insight proved to him that inertial mass (the resistance to acceleration) was equivalent to the gravitational mass (the attraction to other matter) and so they cancelled out. Lovely and symmetrical, but 100% true?

This is called the equivalence principle and it has been tested many times by experiments that are far more accurate versions of Galileo's dropping of two heavy balls from the tower of Pisa (I often had the amusing thought that he was aiming for one of his many critics). The balls hit the ground at the same time, thus proving the equivalence of inertial and gravitational mass. Or does it?

There is a loop hole. The change of inertial mass in quantised inertia is such that the effect is independent of the mass. The acceleration changes to: a = GM/r^2 + 2c^2/Theta. This has a constant second term, which means that both balls would still fall together, but a little faster. This means the experiments done so far (based on the two balls) will be blind to QI. They need to look at speed of fall instead.

The epiphany I had was imagining the spacecraft we were watching on screen (in Independence Day), and getting rid of all fields and only thinking of horizons. As the craft accelerates towards Earth there is a single Rindler horizon above it which damps the Unruh radiation above it pulling it up (inertia), and many little horizons caused by atoms/matter in the Earth below it damping the fields there and pulling it down (gravity). Whereas in general relativity the path of the craft is along an abstract vector in space-time (a thing that can never be tested for directly), in QI the balance is caused by horizons and their damping of the Unruh field, something that can be tested for (Unruh radiation has now been detected, see reference).

Modern theoretical physics disdains the idea of testability, but I do not, and it has been found that the best theories are always the testable ones, almost as if the cosmos gives us a reward for sticking our necks out. "Well, the Lord hates a coward." - Jim Malone.


Lynch et al., 2021. Experimental Observation of Acceleration-Induced Thermality. Phys. Rev. D 104, 025015. https://arxiv.org/abs/1903.00043

Tuesday 13 June 2023

A Foresight Workshop in San Francisco

Last week I traveled all the way to San Francisco to attend the Foresight Institute's Space Workshop. The meeting was held at the HQ of the 50 Years VC firm by the Randall Museum. It was a modern building and very St Francis: soft pillows, intense light, vegetarian buffets (nice!), beautiful views, small nooks with Buddha statues in them... The atmosphere was relaxed but highly organised.

I gave my talk, saying that QI has been proven without a doubt in space (galaxies and wide binaries), it predicts that we can get propellant-less thrust, lab tests are backing this which means we can get a probe to the Oort cloud in a year and Proxima Centauri in 10 or so. They also asked me for a challenge and offhand I said "How to fund a Horizon Institute to work on and apply QI". I felt then that this was a little selfish, but given I am losing my university post, it was the problem I had come here to solve so I let it stand. Anyway, several people voted for it and it came second and was combined with Robert Zubrin's challenge for a Mars Institute to work on colonisation by doing things first on Earth and Creon Levit's welcome plan for the Mavericks' Institute. We were called Team 1.

The next day we had a grievance session in which Zubrin repeated his interesting comment that NASA has the same budget in the 2010s it had in the 60s for Apollo but is no longer "storming the heavens", and there should be a property office for space to encourage space mining and a new gold rush. Creon Levit said that universities and institutions no longer tolerate mavericks, which is very true. I pointed out that after I published something on the Podkletnov effect I was banned from the arXiv, which is not to say I necessarily believe the Podkletnov effect, but an academic must have the right to look at anomalies without cancellation, otherwise the old theories are never going to be tested and improved.

We were then divided into our Teams. Team 1 met: Creon Levit, Robert Zubrin, Larry Lemke & I. In the relaxed surroundings and leadership from Creon, the group decided the best way forward was for Larry to test a QI capacitor drive in a 1U cubesat setup. Geffen Avraham then sat down next to me and offered to launch it! I offered of course to provide advice. Put the right people together on a comfy sofa and see what happens. We presented our plan to all, as did other groups, and there was a vote using Feynman Bucks. Our plan won the nominal 1st Prize of $3000.

The other groups had suggested projects involving Mike Grace's shoot-cargo-into-space (a brilliant idea that fits his larger than life character perfectly and that he is developing - he took people to see his hypersonic accelerator), proving on-orbit robot manufacture by building a long space stick (astronomer Martin Elvis was not happy) , investigating the biological dangers of colonising Mars, and the Mars Institute devoted to doing it (Zubrin and Carol Stoker have a long running debate about this). As a coda, it was suggested in jest that we could combine all these, by launching with Mike Grace's space gun, building the stick, using QI to get it to Mars, whereupon Carol Carol and Zubrin could debate whether it should land.

Overall, it was a great example of how a shared vision, a relaxing environment and first class organisation can lead to positive results. Thank you to the Foresight Team.

PS: Thanks to a doctor, a nurse & the flight crew on my way to San Francisco who probably saved my life.

Tuesday 28 March 2023

How QI gets rid of the Gravitational Constant, Big G

Inertia has never been understood, it has just been assumed that “Things keep going in a straight line, unless you push on them”, but why? Quantised inertia (QI) explains why.

This diagram shows an object (the black circle) accelerating to the left. Quantum mechanics states that all accelerated objects see a warm bath of thermal (random) radiation called Unruh radiation (orange) that has now been observed at CERN (Lynch et al., 2021). Relativity states that information from the far right will never catch up to the object since it is limited to the speed of light (c) (the black area to the right). The new assumption of quantised inertia (QI) is that the object & horizon (edge of the black) damp the Unruh radiation between them, as in the Casimir effect (the blue area) so more radiation pushes the object from the left than the right – this model predicts inertia (McCulloch, 2013).

QI also explains galaxy rotation without dark matter, since at a galaxy’s edge the accelerations are tiny so the waves of Unruh radiation get too long to fit inside the observable cosmos (size=Θ), so they cannot exist (Mach: what you cannot ever perceive you should assume does not exist). There is no doubt that it is QI & not dark matter that explains galaxy rotation since the galaxy rotation problems starts at the exact radius where the Unruh waves get as long as the cosmos (McCulloch, 2017). This also predicts a minimum acceleration for nature of 2c^2/Θ.

This is how QI gets rid of the need for the gravitational constant G. The lower the acceleration, the longer the Unruh waves. Physics must act to make sure that the length of the Unruh waves is less than the cosmic diameter, so in any volume there must be at least enough gravity to keep the acceleration above the minimum acceleration, so

GM/r^2 >(2c^2)/Θ

Since Θ=2r and we’ll assume it is on the threshold, then

G=(c^2 Θ)/2M

This relation has long been known to work (try putting numbers in). Now quantised inertia explains it. Since we know the speed of light, c, the cosmic size Θ (to 10%) and the cosmic mass, to within a factor of 10, from counting galaxies, we can calculate G and replace G in all the equations with the right hand side above. This new physics also predicts that G varies in time, as Θ increases. So, next time someone mentions the gravitational constant, tell them it isn't, and furthermore that it is not needed at all!


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

McCulloch, M.E., 2017. Galaxy rotations from quantised inertia and visible matter only. Astro. Sp. Sci., 362,149. Link

Lynch, M.H., et al, 2021. Experimental observations of acceleration-induced thermality. Phys. Rev. D., 104, 025015. Link

Friday 17 March 2023

A Quantised Inertia Drive is to be Launched to LEO by SpaceX

I’ve been in the ‘New Physics’ arena for 17 years now, and things keep getting weirder. When I started out in 2006, peer reviewers of my early papers were of the opinion that they didn’t exactly believe QI but it was more likely than dark matter, they could not find anything logically wrong and the theory agreed with the data, so that was that. In other words, they put logic and facts before mere opinion.

Today, an article appeared on Universe Today (see below from the Wayback Machine) reporting two factual events that I’ve had to keep quiet about for months due to an NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement). The first is that a US company that I have been liaising with, called IVO Ltd, tested a QI thruster in a professional vacuum chamber and found it to agree with the QI theory. The quote from IVO CEO, Richard Mansell was “All Quantum Drives showed thrust consistent with predicted Quantized Inertial calculations. Control Drives confirmed that thrust measurements were not consistent with any other known forces.” The second piece of news was that they are to launch a QI drive on a SpaceX rocket on June 10th for a test in space. I was pleased that at last I could talk about these two pieces of news, but a few hours later the article had been deleted due to pressure apparently from ‘some physicists’ who doubted the QI theory. 

Who are these titans of physics who can erase facts that threaten their opinions within a few hours?! That would be like suppressing all news of the next SpaceX launch because you don’t believe in space: let them at least test the idea. Let’s hope this essay does not also magically disappear...

The article has of course been saved by the great Wayback Machine: Link

Kudos to Universe Today. They have republished the article with more balance. 'Tis here: Newlink