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 2 February 2015

Empirical Falsification & Alpha Centauri

I strongly agree with Karl Popper's philosophy of empirical falsification: 'A theory in the empirical sciences can never be proven, but it can be falsified, meaning that it can and should be scrutinised by decisive experiments. If the outcome of an experiment contradicts the theory, one should refrain from ad hoc manoeuvres that evade the contradiction merely by making it less falsifiable'.

It's clear that much of modern physics, for example the search for gravitational waves and dark matter, are complete reversals of this sensible approach. The search for gravitational waves is an attempt to 'prove' general relativity, not to disprove it. Similarly for dark matter: when general relativity was first applied to other galaxies it was found to wrongly predict their rotation, so invisible dark matter was invented, huge amounts of it, to make general relativity fit. This is clearly an 'ad hoc manoeuvre to evade the contradiction that makes the whole system less falsifiable', since dark matter is added by hand and cannot be disproven. Since then, mind boggling sums of money have been spent building detectors to look for dark matter, in disregard of the sensible Popperian approach which would design decisive experiments that attack general relativity.

What would be a decisive experiment or observation? Torsion balance tests of the equivalence principle (the basis of general relativity, GR) are not decisive, because a theory now exists that explains galaxy rotation and violates equivalence, but would not show up in such experiments (MiHsC). One decisive way to attack GR would be to look at a very low acceleration system that cannot be explained by dark matter.

For example, I have discussed globular clusters, wide binary stars and the Alpha Centauri system before and I have now completed a nice paper on the latter (to be submitted). Alpha Centauri is the closest star system to us. It is a triple star system with two stars very close together and one extremely far away and in the 'low acceleration' regime. Sure enough, the far star (Proxima Centauri) is orbiting far too fast to be bound by the visible matter of the other two, and yet it is definitely bound because it has the same motion through the sky and the same chemistry as the others. This may sound oddly familiar! It is a decisive anomaly because it sounds just like the galaxy rotation problem, but dark matter cannot be applied on these small scales. One 'fix' that has been inevitably suggested is to increase the mass of the two central stars, by 3-sigma, a large increase over their mass uncertainty, so not ideal.

I've now shown that MiHsC predicts a loss of inertia for Proxima, so that it can be bent into a bound orbit with the observed fast speed. This means that MiHsC reconciles the chemical, co-moving and orbital data without the need for any 'fiddling', and dark matter and additions of normal matter can't work in this case.


McCulloch, M.E., 2015. Testing quantised inertia on the Alpha Centauri system (to be submitted).

Wertheimer, J.G., G. Laughlin, 2006. Are Proxima and Alpha Centauri gravitationally bound? Astronomical Journal, 132, 1995-1997.


Unknown said...

Another one for you to take a look at, see if your theory fits:


The death of Galaxies, losing the gas needed for stellar formation for unclear reasons.

Mike McCulloch said...

Thanks Tim. Intriguing! I'll look into it.