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

Wednesday 8 January 2014

An Introduction to MiHsC / quantised inertia

The idea of inertia is that in a vacuum, where there is no friction, objects move along in a straight line at constant speed until you push on them. This tendency was first isolated by Galileo, who rolled balls down inclined planes (balls feel less friction). This tendency, inertia, has always been assumed but never explained.

Meanwhile physics has moved towards a study of information, and it has been realised in the past few decades that when you accelerate something, say, to the right, information from far to the left can never catch up to it, this means there is an information-boundary or 'horizon' to its left which is like a black hole event horizon (it is called a Rindler horizon). A kind of Hawking radiation comes off this horizon, which is called Unruh radiation (it was proposed by Bill Unruh) and is seen as background radiation, but is seen only by the accelerated object (there is some evidence for Unruh radiation eg: Smolyaninov, 2008).

I have suggested that the waves of Unruh radiation cause inertia as follows: the waves have to fit exactly between the rightwards-accelerating object and the Rindler horizon that forms on the left. This is similar in form to the Casimir effect, but I use logic instead: a non-fitting partial wave would allow us to infer what lies beyond the horizon, so it wouldn't be a horizon anymore. This logic disallows Unruh waves that don't fit on the left: they dissappear. As a result more Unruh radiation pressure hits the object coming from the right than from the left and this imbalance pushes it back against its acceleration, just like inertia. I have shown that this effect is the right size to provide a mechanism for inertia, and so can explain it for the first time (paper) (there's a factor of 2 error in the paper, when corrected the result is within 29% of the Planck mass). An analogy is a boat near a seawall. Seaward of it, waves of all wavelengths can exist for there is no boundary, but between it and the seawall fewer waves can fit: only those that have 'nodes' (the unmoving part of the wave) at the wall and boat. As a result more waves hit the boat from the seaward side, pushing it on average towards the seawall.

It does not end there, however, because, to be tested, a model needs to predict something unexpected, and this model for inertia does. There is also a horizon much further away, at the Hubble horizon, so even to the right of the object some of the Unruh waves are disallowed, especially the very long Unruh waves that you get if the object has a very low acceleration. The new prediction then is that objects with very low acceleration lose inertial mass in a new way. This model for inertia can be called: Modified inertia by a Hubble-scale Casimir effect (MiHsC) or quantised inertia.

In this way, MiHsC solves a problem astronomers have had with galaxies. They are spinning so fast that they should centrifugally explode. Oddly, they don’t explode, so astronomers have had to invent invisible ‘dark’ matter and add it to the galaxies to hold them together with extra gravitational pull. This is a ‘patch’ since it is not predictive: you have to add dark matter 'by hand' to get agreement between standard gravity and the observed spin of the galaxy. Interestingly, the stars at the galaxy’s edge (the ones misbehaving) have low accelerations, so see very long Unruh waves, and MiHsC predicts a loss of inertial mass for them, that reduces the centrifugal outward force on them by just the right amount to make everything fit, see here and here. MiHsC then is an alternative explanation of why galaxies do not break up with the centrifugal forces, and is better than the dark matter hypothesis and MoND because there is only one way to apply MiHsC, and that way works (McCulloch, 2012).

MiHsC also explains other observed anomalies, for example: the recently-observed cosmic acceleration, the low-l cosmic microwave background anomaly (a suppression of patterns at the Hubble scale), the controversial lab experiments of Podkletnov (1992) and Tajmar (2009), the flyby anomaly, the emdrive, and others.. Here is a summary of all these tests.

MiHsC is not fully developed yet, and to do this I need to persuade it to show itself in a controllable and repeatable lab experiment (in progress) but, if confirmed, there are applications. MiHsC predicts that when you suddenly accelerate something (eg: spin a disc very fast) the disc, and objects nearby, should gain a bit of inertial mass and to conserve momentum they will move anomalously: a new way to move things. More generally, MiHsC predicts that whenever you put a horizon into the zero point field it creates a gradient in it that can pull on objects. MiHsC also predicts that you can’t have a constant velocity, zero acceleration, since the Unruh waves would then be longer than the Hubble scale, and none would fit, so inertia would collapse. This modifies special relativity’s insistence on a speed of light limit, and the predicted (tiny) acceleration agrees with the observed cosmic acceleration, as noted above.


Anonymous said...

I am not a physics major but a layman enthusiast with inertia and energy. Have you seen Dr. Stephen Greer´s comments that "the wondrous new sciences related to advanced energy generation,propulsion and transportation have been withheld from the people. These advances include the generation of limitless clean energy from the so-called zero point energy field and quantum vacuum flux field from the space around us, and propulsion that has been termed (incorrectly) anti-gravity. The field of electromagnetic energy that is teeming all around us and which is embedded within the fabric of space/time can easily run all of the energy needs of the Earth - without pollution, oil, gas, coal,centralized utilities or nuclear power."?

Mike McCulloch said...

I was unaware of Dr S. Greer, but I have read Nick Cook's The Hunt for Zero Point which discusses Podkletnov with an interesting historical view. I don't buy Cook's main conclusion that zpf technology already exists. There is no hard evidence for that. However, I am aware that zpf-type work is being suppressed, not due to a top-down hidden agenda, but more through group-think. I have met huge resistance to MiHsC at the grassroots level that has not been based on any empirical data. The only way to break though this is to stay true to empiricism & this is what I have done, and will continue to do. Data is the best ally.

Mike said...

Well good luck to you! It's an interesting theory!

...Though the implications for high accelerations seem counter-intuitive. How might you design an experiment for that? What order of magnitude of acceleration are we talking about here? And what's the order of the effect?

Mike McCulloch said...

Thank you. At normal or high accelerations MiHsC converges with standard inertia, only at accelerations of order 10^-10 m/s^2 does it dominate (but it can cause effects due to acceleration changes too, this is the best way to see it in the lab, see my blog from 12th April 2014. An expt is underway..). MiHsC predicts the ratio between the predicted new inertia 'mi' and the old one 'm' to be: mi/m = 1-(2c^2/|a|*Theta), where c is the speed of light, a is the mutual acceleration and Theta is the Hubble distance 2.7*10^26 m.

Zephir said...

This model is similar to MOND theory, where space-time expansion gets into account for tiny accelerations (i.e. these equal or smaller than the product of Hubble constant and speed of light). It's essentially the effect of quantum jitterbugging to small acceleration, which wipes out the inertial force here.

Mike McCulloch said...

The variant of inertial-MoND was an inspiration to me, but MoND and MiHsC differ in their predictions and also in that MoND is only an empirical 'fit': it has to be fitted to the data by hand with a constant a0, and there is no physical reason given for it, whereas MiHsC is based on logic, has a good physical reason and predicts well without any arbitrary fitting. This is a profound advantage.

Paul Handy said...

First, please don't mind my ignorance on the topic - I'm just an electrical engineer with very little exposure to theoretical physics; and I haven't taken the time to do a thorough search in your theories, but since you've mentioned Unruh radiation and its replacement of dark matter in our current model (as I understood your post); is there some measure predictable of the amount of this radiation in relation to Calabi–Yau manifold as perhaps our universe is? Or does your theory relate to string theory at all?

Mike McCulloch said...

Dear Paul: Sorry, MiHsC has nothing to do with string theory which has no physical evidence backing it as far as I know. Calabi-Yau spaces are a further complication built upon an evidenceless theory: maths not physics. I think theories should stay close to the evidence and string theory left reality behind a long time ago.

Charles Munn said...

MiHsC is the most exciting notion since Plank solved the black bar radiation curve via his intuited H constant! I've never been good at languages, especially Calculus, thanks for explaining in English.

Unknown said...

Hello Mike,

To say I was a layman would be an overstatement, but I think I grasp the basics (at least of the effect) of what you're proposing.

Possibly not though, so I hope you'll excuse the question if I've missed the point.

My GCSE grasp of the meaning of inertia was that it was also a property of a moving object slowing down (for whatever reason). If that is the case, how does MiHsC apply to this case? Is the Unruh radiation now swapping to the 'right'? If so how?



Unknown said...

Understatment. Definitely an understatement!

Mike McCulloch said...

Hi Toby,

Just to correct you: inertia is the property that makes things continue to go at a constant speed, until something, like friction, or a brick wall, forces them to stop. On Earth, things do tend to stop due to friction, but the deeper rule, as found by Galileo is that the underlying tendency is to keep going (inertia). You can isolate and see inertia at work if you look at objects moving a vacuum, for example at craft approaching the space station.

Hope that helps, Mike

NeaGix said...

Hi Mike,

I think you have here a quite elegant theory, looking forward to read more about it, and possibly about related experiments. The "dark matter" idea never sinked in for me.

On the topic of inertia, and slightly unrelated - could you comment about the construction of a purely geometric clock that J. Barbour proposes in his book "The end of time"? Do you think that it is solid, if you know about it?

Mike McCulloch said...

Thank you. I'm not familiar with Barbour's geometric clock, but will look it up. Is there a good discussion online?

Mike McCulloch said...

NeaGix: I like Barbour's attempt to show with the geometric clock that time does not exist, only change does, but it is rather Platonic for me (& see below). I'm trying to publish a paper doing something similar in a different, informational way.

One interesting thing about the geometric clock is that if it is isolated (in an empty cosmos) and if we take it to be time (and I do, since only things you can measure exist), then MiHsC disallows constant speed and demands a tiny acceleration (Oddly the MiHsC model of inertia shows that strictly inertia doesn't exist). The implication is that durations of time in this clock (& our cosmos?) can't be constant.

NeaGix said...

Hi Mike,

saw the notifications just now.
Thanks for looking it up and for your replies; it is indeed an interesting implication.

R. Paul Bauman said...

Hi Mike,
I have the physics, it's different, but it states generally what you are staying. If you are interested let me know. Thank you. Paul Bauman

Martin said...

the stuff sucked in by all the black holes in the universe forms the next big bang
because it enters non-local space, due to relativity collapsing within the event horizon then space/time does not exist. this state means it doesn't matter where in the universe the matter is located if it falls into a black hole it all accumulates and grows until Boom.

Alain_Co said...

Hi Michael,

I hijack this comment I have problem to understand .

how does MiHsC behave in blackhole situation, this mean huge concentration of what we call mass today.
It seems observed that light is bent and even blocked.
How could MiHsC explains that?

as Iundesrtand MiHsC does not iclude GR geometry...
however as I understand GR geometry emerge from constraint of symmetry over referentials.
if you integrate MiHsC, maybe keeping the same symmetry demand a geometry that is not far from GR, but slightly different ?

Martin said...

does pressure of unruh radiation grow from the mass of objects or information involved at each horizon?
or maybe mass of an object behind say a starship pulls the radiation back in
if this radiation made of quantum particles maybe they are heavy
is this also related to a property of gravity, or gravity waves
GR says gravity isnt a force anymore so gravity is now free as a concept to become another related force
theorise like MiHsc dont need to include GR because space/time works as normal and this is an additional force to take account of it just adding this into the equations somewhere. it might be that this force can't make the object deviate from it's course so stars orbitting at edges of galaxy go faster but can't fly apart. i looked up unruh and its similar to hawking radiation which is awesome
these waves might radiate out in a spiral from the centre black hole of galaxies and imparting a spin.
uhruh radiation seems different but explains why universe is expanding as there are no unruh on direction of travel away from big bang as that is empty universe, so there's no event horizon in that direction? if there's nothing there it doesn't exist so the universe would be everything there is. i believe the universe will still end up in a big crunch cause matter falling into black holes becomes non-local and amasses outside of space/time somewhere fueling the next big bang. the galaxies don't have to recollapse the black holes take care of it. big bang cycle for one thing i'm off to research big bang cycles

J. S. Gilbert said...

I had an idea at one point that there is a field all around us which (like your description of the sea on the seaward side of the boat) has all wavelengths overlapping at the same time. Any traveling object "harmonizes" (for lack of a better word) with one of those wavelengths. Acceleration requires force, because to "re-harmonize" with a different wavelength requires "de-harmonizing" with one. This explains why centrifugal force exists even for a reference frame that has no other reference frames that it is moving in relationship to, because it's still moving with relationship to the background "wave-grid". The wave-grid also explains why light is quantized the way it is, because the "gaps" between the wavelengths correspond with the plank distance and the "gaps" in frequency correspond with the plank time. The curvature of spacetime is explained as frequency density ranges of the wave-grid being blocked by a mass that obtains inertia from them, but leaves the surrounding space devoid of those wavelengths, causing an object that wishes to accelerate to make a larger frequency jump to "re-harmonize" with a different wavelength (it's a larger scale boat vs. seawall effect). I could go on, but I'm not a physicist. I'm more like Democritus who knew there were atoms intuitively. I know this is how it is; your theory of MiHsC confirms what I have been thinking for several years now as I was trying to reconcile what I have read about Harold Puthoff's theory of Zero Point Energy (see "Engineering the Zero-Point Field and Polarizable Vacuum for Interstellar Flight") with Einstein's relativity and what I have read about quantum physics. In particular it explains the length contraction of relativity because when the traveller's atoms re-harmonize with the denser field, since the frame of reference is quantized according to the background field it is in harmony with, therefore its length shrinks in the direction in which it re-harmonized with the denser fields (since the fields have four dimensions).

J. S. Gilbert said...

Sorry, I know that's not very mathy, but maybe this vision or intuition of mine could help you to conceptualize some further insights. I strongly suspect that this path you are on is ultimately the key to a true unified field theory. But that will raise a whole host of new questions. Physics is far from understanding everything.

Myrddin Emrys said...

Can you clarify how MiHsC accounts for the observations of gravitational lensing? I was under the impression that the observed lensing effect was too great to be accounted for by visible matter (and thus was used as supporting evidence for Dark Matter), but I don't see any mention of this in your article above.

Mike McCulloch said...

Myrddin: Just as MiHsC bends the trajectory of stars at the edges of galaxies, as if there was the extra mass, so it also bends the light passing the galaxy as if there was the same amount of extra mass.

Nathanael_L said...

> MiHsC predicts that when you suddenly accelerate something (eg: spin a disc very fast) the disc, and objects nearby, should gain a bit of inertial mass and to conserve momentum they will move anomalously: a new way to move things. More generally, MiHsC predicts that whenever you put a horizon into the zero point field it creates a gradient in it that can pull on objects.

How does this effect match up with relativistic frame dragging? This is an effect that any moving object has on nearby objects, that for example was predicted and confirmed to cause the alignment of a gyroscope in a satellite to change over time as a result of the rotation of the earth, where the gyroscope's axis of rotation was rotated along the same the axis of earth's rotation.

Mike McCulloch said...

Nataneal: the MiHsC effect is several orders of magnitude greater than frame dragging.

McEk said...

Interesting theory Mike! It seems to have parallels with the theory of Erik Verlinde:
That comes to the same conclusion with regards to dark matter.
Are you aware of that theory?

Mike McCulloch said...

McEk: Please see my comments here: http://physicsfromtheedge.blogspot.co.uk/2016/11/critique-of-verlindes-gravity-1.html

retrocycler said...


Please forgive me for a pedantic, semantic criticism. Where you say:

"MiHsC then is an alternative explanation of why galaxies do not explode"

I recommend you instead use the term "... galaxies do not fly apart."

"Exploding" galaxies are already mentioned in popular (e.g. photographs) astronomy, and this could lead to confusion in the lay reader.

Otherwise I find your theory interesting and well presented here.



Mike McCulloch said...

Boris: Good point. I have modified it a little. Thanks.

Turil said...

Your description of how the number of possible wavelengths decreases as time goes forward (from some "here") sounds like what I've been using a model similar to Pascal's triangle to describe, I believe. Looking at your typical Pascal's triangle, with a whole, single "universe" at the top, each time we move down the triangle, recalculating things essentially, the categories of things that exist (macrostates) divide up and recombine in a new way with their divided neighbors, resulting in new types of things. This process ultimately generates infinite universes (or time-lines through a single universe), with each being connected at the trunk of the tree where everything "starts". The stuff on the right can be called pure matter (0) and the stuff on the left pure energy (1), and you can see ALL the possible combinations of patterns of zeros and ones being explored by reality over time in a purely mathematically random (NOT arbitrary!) way.

Within the macrostates are all the microstates of individual things that make up the category, such as specific galaxies in the category of galaxies. As time moves forward, the types of things get more numerous, and so the path that any measurement that we make of history will have more options for what it can encounter, but preserving mass~energy overall, the types of things get smaller and (usually) more complex. This is the same as your description of how the wavelengths can only be smaller as the boat moves toward the wall. At the beginning of time only large, general things existed, and then they broke up and became smaller and smaller and more and more complex, leading to life and eventually humans, and then smart phones, and so on. At the edges of the universe as it is now, there are still a few large, simple things (pure matter and pure energy), but the vast majority of the bell curve of what stuff you might find in front of you gets increasingly small and complex. That's entropy, and evolution.

Using Pascal's triangle as a mathematical model also results in all sorts of interesting predictions about reality, as well, given all the patterns that we've found in the map. For example, it means that life will continue infinitely in the larger universe (multiverse) since life is the middle set of things that mix matter and energy in an "average" way, but that individual living things will get smaller and smaller. Eventually smaller than the current plank length even.

Fervent Dissent said...

In https://arxiv.org/abs/1604.03449v1 you state the force should increase with a dielectric, but https://youtu.be/wBtk6xWDrwY?t=13m36s says cavities with a dielectric have worse performance.

Will you explain this more?

Daniel Hodgson said...


I have a rudimentary understanding of calculus and physics, and I've read quite a bit on various topics relating to physics. I'd like to think the background that's given me has helped me to better understand various theories relating to QP and gravity, but at the end of the day, I am simply a layman.

Assuming I understand correctly, generally speaking MiHsC describes gravity as a consequence of the Casimir effect; I.e. objects are attracted to each other due to lower wave pressure between each other, than between the individual objects and the edge of the observable universe. I find that very interesting, but it leaves me wondering: with regards to cosmic inflation, wouldn't that mean that an object between you, and the half-way point between you and the edge of the universe, should be attracted to you? Obviously I'm misunderstanding something here, as your theory doesn't seem to predict that.

Assuming said object is to your left, would the correct interpretation be to assume that said object moves away from you since there is a lower pressure between it, and the edge of the edge of the universe to their left, than between it, and the edge of the universe to their right (the wave pressure between you and the object becoming miniscule due to distance)?

Am I understanding any of this correctly?Is there any reading material that you might suggest so that I can better understand your theory (short of studying for a master's in physics)?

Ziggy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
cccccttttt said...

Does your theory of inertia suggest a device that will modify gravity for room sized objects?

If so, this site is offering prize money.



maartenrvd said...

This is puzzling. I can follow the reasoning that stars at the edge of a galaxy would have less inertia according this theory. But how does this match with local acceleration (e.g. brownian motion)? It seems that inertia is increased again so the whole effect disappears?

Or does this effect work on 'group' acceleration (i do not know how to call this better).

Rodney Bartlett said...

I read that you’ve been awarded US$1.3 million to convert light into thrust for spacecraft. General Relativity and a 2009 electrical-engineering experiment at Yale Uni might give you clues to develop this propulsion -

A 2009 electrical-engineering experiment at America's Yale University, together with the ideas of Albert Einstein, tells us how we could travel to other stars and galaxies. Electrical engineer Hong Tang and his team at Yale demonstrated that, on silicon-chip and transistor scales, light can attract and repel itself like electric charges or magnets [“Tunable bipolar optical interactions between guided lightwaves” by Mo Li, W. H. P. Pernice & H. X. Tang - Nature Photonics 3, 464 - 468 (2009)]. This is the Optical Effect.

For 30 years until his death in 1955, Einstein worked on his Unified Field Theory with the aim of uniting electromagnetism (light is one form of this) and gravitation. Achievement of this means the quantum components (gravitons) of gravity/spacetime-warps between spaceships and stars could mimic the Optical Effect and be attracted together, thereby largely eliminating distance (this is similar to traversing a wormhole, or shortcut, between two folds in space-time). The beginning of achievement of this union would seem to be Einstein's paper "Do gravitational fields play an essential role in the structure of elementary particles?" ("Spielen Gravitationsfelder im Aufbau der materiellen Elementarteilchen eine wesentliche Rolle?", Sitzungsberichte der Preussischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, [Math. Phys.], 349-356 [1919] Berlin) Though this paper was originally intended to explain atomic structure, it can explain G-EM unity if used as inspiration for a “vector-tensor-scalar geometry”.

Two adjoining sides of a parallelogram represent the vectors of the photon’s spin 1 and the graviton’s spin 2. The resultant diagonal represents the interaction of the sides/vectors (1÷2 = the spin 1 / 2 of every matter particle). Tensor calculus changes the coordinates of the sides and diagonal into the coordinates of a single point on the diagonal. This scalar point is associated with particles of spin 0. If the mass produced previously happens to be 125 GeV/c2, its union with spin 0 produces the Higgs boson.
(The mass, m, is derived from Einstein’s formula equating mass with energy: E=mc2. Solving the equation for “m” results in m=E/c2: mass equals 125 giga electron volts divided by the speed of light squared.) 125 GeV/c2 united with spin 0 means the central scalar point of the Higgs boson is related to the vector of the graviton, and the Higgs field (the boson is an excitation of this field) is therefore united with the supposedly unrelated gravitational field (together with the latter’s constant interaction with the electromagnetic field).