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

Monday 23 April 2012

Breakfast at the 100 Year Starship

I went to the 100 Year Starship Symposium in Orlando, Florida, last year and presented some of my work on "Quantised Inertia and FTL". After my talk, this chap, a fellow presenter, Jack Sarfatti, stood up and said: "I'm very excited by your work, and it might even be true! However, what you need to ask is WHEN is your event horizon" (ie: the boundary I use for the Hubble-scale Casimir effect).

The next morning at breakfast a friendly chap from New York came and sat with me and said, in the nicest way possible, that my talk had reminded him why he'd left physics for the law. Anyway, I went to get my scrabbled eggs, plus watermelon on the side, and I saw Jack Sarfatti sitting alone at a table and said "Hello". He exploded out of his seat, and joined me and the lawyer. He quickly explained the holographic principle, how it explains why entropy increases, and again why he thinks I need to ask the question: "WHEN is my event horizon?". After 10 minutes of intensity my excluded lawyer friend stood up to go, and said to me: "It was nice meeting you" and then said to Jack: "Well, I didn't meet you, but it was very educational!". Jack didn't seem to notice this and carried on. I liked Jack immediately. Reading about him later, it seems he's dabbled into just about everything, but that's fine by me: to get good ideas you need lots of different ones, some crazy, so long as you do then test them properly. I do think it would be hard, in a conversation, to get him to listen for any length of time though.

I appreciated Jack's comment about causality. I have wondered for over 20 years how to make time flexible. I tried to write a paper (my first) back in 1992 suggesting a theory of fuzzy time, and someone from the physics department I'd just graduated from said: "Too woolly, you need to suggest a test, and also it sounds like Cramer". I learned then that John Cramer had suggested a transactional (noncausal) interpretation of quantum mechanics. Bizzarely, 20 years later it was him chairing our exotic session at the 100 Year Starship Symposium. Anyway, after over 20 years in physics I have learned to look for tests, so, for causality, where's the data to show the way?

Well, John Cramer is setting up a test for retrocausality, see: http://faculty.washington.edu/jcramer/

Thursday 12 April 2012

An analogy for MiHsC

The following is one of my attempts at a rough analogy for MiHsC. Imagine an ant who has somehow strayed onto a drum. Everytime the poor ant tries to move, he makes waves on the drumskin that bounce him and slow him down (a sort of inertia). Now, only waves of certain wavelengths can exist on drumskins (and in harbours too) those with nodes (non moving parts) at the solid boundary or edge. The allowed waves are: ones with a wavelength twice the drum's diameter, the same size as the diameter, 2/3 times the diameter, 1/2 the diameter and so on.. If the ant knew this then maybe he could move in such a way that the waves he excites are too long, or the wrong wavelength, to fit onto the drumskin (are disallowed), then he could move without being bounced around (less inertial mass), and get back home quicker.

There's a saying: "More haste, less speed". In this case maybe "Less haste, more speed" would be more apt. MiHsC is similar, but replace the ant with any object, the drumskin waves with Unruh waves and the drumskin with the Hubble volume. To lose inertial mass, accelerate more slowly. The cosmos is a drum? - Feynman would have been chuffed.

Tuesday 3 April 2012

At the NAM in Manchester

Last Thursday I attended one day of the UK-Germany National Astronomy Meeting in Manchester and I gave a talk in the (unofficial) Cosmology 4 'Dark Energy, Dark Matter and Modified Gravity' session on my recent work 'Testing quantised inertia with wide binaries'. I was asked a few interesting questions. Someone asked me whether I'd applied MiHsC/QI to the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB). I have done some work on this: I can model the apparent supression of power at the largest scales using the Hubble-scale Casimir effect, but haven't taken account of curved space yet, and further: that CMB anomaly does not poke outside the error bars yet.

One chap suggested that I could look at photons since they traverse areas of low acceleration. OK, but looking for a more direct test, I am now trying to focus on either very simple astronomical tests (wide binaries) or terrestrial experiments (lab tests). He also said that I should not cite the Pioneer anomaly as a successful test any more because Turyshev et al. have modelled the Pioneer anomaly as a mundane thermal radiative reaction force: heat emitted from the RTGs bounces off and pushes the craft. However, although I haven't yet read their paper in detail, it seems they have used a complex reflection model with many adjustable parameters (tricky) and also I would have expected there to be a significant decay in the Pioneer anomaly if radiation was the cause since the RTGs should have significantly cooled over the 30 years of data, but Anderson et al. saw no decay in the anomaly. Turyshev et al. claim there is a decay. I need to look at the data to decide this.

Anyway, someone then asked 'Can you tell me anything that would convince me that inertia is caused by Unruh radiation'. That nonplussed me because I'd just presented all my comparisons of MiHsC/QI with the data and the agreement with data is what convinces me. Anyway, I answered: 'My main reason is that it works'. By this I mean that if you do assume that inertia comes from Unruh radiation, and the Hubble-scale Casimir effect which follows, then you get successful experimental predictions that are unobtainable from other theories. I do not yet have a specific physical model for exactly how the Unruh radiation might interact with objects and cause inertia (I think this is what this person wanted, but for me that has to come later, and slowly). I have a few ideas about possible mechanisms, but no experiments to discriminate between them yet.