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

Friday 26 December 2014

MiHsC vs EmDrive: paper link

The EmDrive is extremely interesting: a truncated metal cone that, when resonating with microwaves, moves slightly towards its narrow end. This anomaly was first observed by Shawyer (2008) and later reproduced by Juan et al. (2012) in China, and recently by NASA's Brady et al. (2014). The Emdrive is still uncertain because it hasn't been tested in a vacuum yet (now it has), so it is probably wise to stay well away for now. Nevertheless, I got interested because I'm always looking for lab tests of MiHsC, and I've found that MiHsC can predict it quite well if you assume that photons have inertial mass and the metal cavity forms an information horizon. I've just published my findings in the open access journal 'Progress in Physics', here. Comments welcome.

My previous posts on emdrive are here, here and here.


Shawyer, R., 2008. Microwave propulsion - progress in the emdrive programme. Link. (see section 6, page 6).

Juan, W., 2012. Net thrust measurement of propellantless microwave thrusters. Acta Physica Sinica, 61, 11.

Brady, D., et al., 2014. Anomalous thrust production from an RF test device measured on a low-thrust torsion pendulum. Conference proceedings, see Table page 18. Link

McCulloch, M.E., 2015. Can the EmDrive be explained by quantised inertia? Progress in Physics, Vol. 11, 1, 78-80. PDF

Wednesday 17 December 2014

Underwater Star?

Christmas is a time for unexplained stars, so I thought I would talk about one of the most down to Earth and yet oddest anomalies I've come across: sonoluminescence, which involves the production of light from sound, or more poetically: a underwater star or a 'Star in a Jar' as others have called it. To make sonoluminescence in the lab you fill a spherical glass bulb with degassed water and emit sound waves within it at the resonant frequency of the sphere. This causes a bubble in the centre of the sphere, which then collapses repeatedly. The interesting thing is that just after the bubble reaches its minimum size of about 0.1 micrometres it emits flashes of em radiation lasting 20 ps, like a little star flashing with amazing regularity. The Planck spectrum of the light indicates that the temperature in the bubble is 10,000 Kelvin, hotter than the Sun's photosphere (the bit we can see) which has made some people question whether fusion might be possible on this small scale..

I've been interested in this phenomenon even since I read of it, since I'm always looking for high acceleration experiments that might demonstrate MiHsC. This is relevant because in a MiHsC-cosmology paper that I finally published this year after many years of trying (McCulloch, 2014) I showed that MiHsC predicts that if you have a 'universe' of width W, then the background temperature in it must be greater than

T > 0.2hc/2kW    (1)

where h is Planck's constant, c is the speed of light and k is Boltzmann's constant. This formula, for example, predicts a Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) for the small early universe. MiHsC does this by ensuring that the Planck wavelength of all the heat emitted in the universe must be shorter than the size of the universe otherwise it would be unobservable. It is interesting that if it is assumed that the sonoluminescent bubble is a little universe, of width 0.1 micrometres, then the temperature predicted by MiHsC at the minimum size of the bubble is

T > 14,340 K

This agrees with the temperature of the bubble (10,000K). Of course, there are lots of other possible explanations of sonoluminescence. The popular ideas are the compression of gas within the bubble or the formation of a plasma in the centre that leads to Brehmsstrahlung, but arguments against these are the lack of observed warming of the water and the quickness and timing of the flash (Eberlein, 1996). Julian Schwinger in his last years suggested using the dynamical Casimir effect and this idea was developed by Eberlein (see the reference below). As always, to decide between all these suggestions, more data will be needed and it's tricky in this case because water absorbs a lot of the spectrum of the radiation emitted. A possible connection to MiHsC could be tested by looking at how the frequency of the light emitted depends on the minimum size of the bubble: using equation (1).


Eberlein, C., 1996. Sonoluminescence as quantum vacuum radiation. Phys.Rev.Lett., 76: 3842-3845. http://arxiv.org/abs/quant-ph/9506023

McCulloch, M.E., 2014. A toy cosmology from a Hubble-scale Casimir effect. http://www.mdpi.com/2075-4434/2/1/81

Thursday 11 December 2014

No tracking of Voyager?

Someone commented on my blog a few weeks ago (Tim Goff) saying why can't Voyager data be used to look for the Pioneer anomaly. I'd always ignored Voyager data before because the Voyager craft were not spin stabilised and so their trajectory was too jerky to see a smooth anomaly because of frequent course corrections. However, Tim's point was interesting because Voyager is now beyond Neptune so there should be fewer course corrections. Since then I've been pestering various NASA centres to try and get the raw position data and they keep directing me to modelled trajectory data which by definition won't show up anomalies.

Now finally I've received a reply from NASA JPL who look after the data and they say that they haven't done any two-way tracking of the Voyager spacecraft since the Neptune encounter and they've been relying on a model! (this says all you need to know about mainstream theoretical physics, it is not just at NASA). I hope this doesn't mean that no-one else has been doing any two-way tracking because the Voyager is unique now in sampling an ultra-low acceleration regime where dynamical anomalies are showing up in deep space (galaxy rotation, cosmic acceleration, the Pioneer and flyby anomalies) and where MiHsC predicts these deviations. If you're in a unique regime, you have to take the opportunity to measure it!

Needless to say I have just written several quick emails to some people I know at NASA in the hope that someone somewhere is measuring position/speed, or that some measurements can be started. I hope so!

PS: Someone has just implied online that since they think the Pioneer anomaly has been explained, why bother? But, the Pioneer anomaly has only been 'simulated' by a complex thermal model: this is not a proof, and is certainly not strong enough to throw away an opportunity to sample uniquely low accelerations, especially since the galaxy rotation anomaly & cosmic acceleration are of the same size and form..