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 19 June 2015

Nothing doing

Our civilisation is based on extracting work from heat. This is what steam engines, cars, rockets do. In the steam engine fire boils water, expansion pushes a piston which turns a wheel which rolls. The engine turns heat into useful motion. Amazingly, the Greeks and Romans could have had such technology at the time of Christ if they'd have thought a little more about the aeolipile of Hero of Alexandria, which was indeed an embryonic steam engine. What they missed at the time was a theory of heat to suggest wider applications for it and better efficiency, but by then Greek science had become too metaphysical to bother with experimental anomalies, and the chance was lost.

It is my belief that we are in a similar situation now, but instead of heat and the aeolipile, mainstream physics is now ignoring the zero point field (ZPF) and a long list of anomalies, because it's chasing unfalsifiable hypotheses like dark matter and strings.

The zero point field (ZPF) was proposed by Einstein and Otto Stern in 1913 to better explain the behaviour of hydrogen gas at low temperature, and you can imagine it as a hidden sea of mass-energy everywhere. It is a sort of heat you can't feel, and that's because it is generally uniform everywhere and therefore, just as for a uniform temperature field, work was not thought to be extractable.

Then along came Casimir in 1948 and proposed that if you put two conducting plates very close together you damp the ZPF within the plates so the ZPF left outside pushes the plates together. The force is so tiny it took until 1997 for it to be measured and the significance of this has been lost because it is not a useable effect (just like the aeolipile). However, if a door is even slightly ajar, it can be pushed open, and what the Casimir effect is doing is tapping into a huge source of hidden energy, the ZPF, by forcing the waves in the ZPF to have nodes at 'horizons': in this case the parallel plates so some of them are disallowed and the ZPF becomes non-uniform and therefore it can effect the real world and become useful.

I've used this to extend physics so that it pays attention to the ZPF and how, when you put horizons in it, you can get new energy out (this is the basis of MiHsC). For example, the energy you get when you accelerate and a Rindler horizons forms behind you produces in MiHsC (via Unruh radiation) the energy needed for what we always called inertia, but never understood. Also, MiHsC predicts that the far-distant Hubble horizon produces cosmic acceleration and the galaxy rotation anomaly, and the predictions fit the data. The most controllable and repeatable example yet is the emdrive, which may be our aeolipile. MiHsC suggests that the asymmetry of its cavity makes a ZPF (Unruh radiation) gradient within it (the ZPF being supercharged by all the energy put in) and the cavity then rolls down that ZPF gradient (MiHsC predicts the emdrive fairly well, but not perfectly, see the paper below).

MiHsC is not complete yet, and I'd like to ask other physicists to help. At the moment what they are doing is trying to rescue an old paradigm from embarrassing new data, with the unfalsifiable hypotheses of dark matter and energy. This is unscientific. MiHsC offers a new paradigm which agrees more simply with the new data that Einstein could not have known about, brings the ZPF and horizons fully into physics and offers a way out of a civilisation based on heat, which is damaging our planet. It's quite elegant too.


McCulloch, M.E., 2015. Can the emdrive be explained by quantised inertia? Progress in Physics, 11, 78-80. Link.

McCulloch, M.E., 2015. Testing quantised inertia on the emdrive. EPL, 111, 60005. Link


Alain_Co said...

About the way the old paradigm is under rescue, there are very nice article on non-popperian, ie realist, epistemology.

Thomas Kuhn is a bit aggressive, even if some of it's bad reputation is due to strawman tactic.

Recently I found an article on Dunbar, which is much more kind with scientits, but realist too.

now, what is happening is very clear. Kuhn explains that the new paradigm will only be considered, and the evidence of anomalies accepted (yes annoying evidence are dumped like p*rn in a theocracy), when the new theory will explain all the past reality, well covered by the old paradigm, or when it will bring much advantage to supporters.

if MiHsC is a good theory is not my competence, but sure current rejection is normal, this mean it bring no information, good or bad.

beside that following your ideas I propose new way to express MiHsC

one way is conservation of momentum in the accessible space...
one problem I have is that space does not exist, as it is a variably distorted slice of spacetime... I cannot understand what is CoM in SR spacetime ?

Same with conservation of energy ?

qraal said...

Thermodynamics is a "Law" with a lot of observational evidence for it and very little for the claim we can pull new usable energy from the vacuum on a whim. How would you argue, to convince the skeptical, that we can tap the vacuum for our needs?

Mike McCulloch said...

I'll be making this argument again, hopefully with more direct evidence, but here's a quick answer for now. There is a pattern that when a horizon appears in nature, unexpected energy is the result. A recent example is the Hubble horizon all around us. An acceleration has been found towards that horizon (cosmic acceleration) which requires obscene amounts of unexpected (dark) energy. MiHsC predicts this, and a lot of other anomalies by assuming that if you make a horizon you can get new work out, but it's not at a 'whim' because in these natural cases physics/logic is making a horizon for all the quantum fields. We can only do that normally with the em field.

Alain_Co said...

I have a naive reason (naive mean, please explain where I'm wrong) to support conservation of energy in normal world (this mean not in cosmology)...

First is that entropy increase is equivalent to heisenberg inequality, which is as far as I have understood the real basic of current physics, with relativity principle (equivalence of referential, of gauge).

second is that as an engineer, if you give me something that invert entropy, I build you an infinite energy source.

of course the way this "law" can be broken is probably that I cannot build the machine, for example because available entropy is beyond the horizon.

in a way my reasoning remind me the way Turing was thinking, or Maxwell daemon.

don't use laws, use engineering.

Alain_Co said...

oops, I just proved the reciprocal , that heisenberg inequality imply CoE.
note that with same reasoning if you break CoE, I can reduce entropy, and thus (there is an equivalence theorem) break Heisenberg.

it seems strange that nobody says that CoE and Entropy growth are equivalent claims? maybe I'm wrong.

Eric Kansa said...

I'm intrigued by MiHsC, but am reserving judgement on it. The problem with MiHsC (and also why it is so intriguing) is that it is a very far reaching model. Right now, I think it is hard to know if MiHsC really is consistent with a much larger body of observation and experimental evidence.

I guess, I'm waiting for the experimental evidence for MiHsC that is more clear and unambiguous and that can't be explained away (like the Pioneer anomaly or weak "thrust" measurements from the EmDrive). So, Mike what's the status of the spinning experiment you blogged about earlier? Are you getting useful results above a threshhold of noise that makes it so hard to measure potentially novel but subtle physics?

Let me follow this with admiration for your work and your courage to stick your neck out and take these intellectual risks. We need more researchers like you, and we desperately need to encourage an academic environment that gives researchers the freedom to get things wrong. Otherwise we'll never do more than optimize the status quo.

Unknown said...
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Mike McCulloch said...

Hi Eric. Yes, the unambiguous experiment is the way to go. Luckily I met someone at a conference who heard me talk and was willing to do the experiment. Tests have been done, but we're being coy until the vacuum test. Thanks for your encouragement.

Mike McCulloch said...

Superscramjetman: Oh. You appear to have deleted the link. Can you repost? Thanks.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

Hi Mike,

I just wrote a 46 page report "Cut-off of Resonant Modes in Truncated Conical Cavities" where I analyze the geometry of EM Drives (using the geometry of the Aachen Germany fellows (@movax) dubbed "Baby EM Drive" as an example). You can find my report as an attachment to this message:


In the report I show that it is nonsense to use cylindrical waveguide cut-off formulas for truncated cones like the EM Drive. Using such formulas, has unfortunately prevented the full exploration of the truncated cone geometry up to now.


Also, I have been maintaining the EM Drive wiki table for experiments, including best estimates for dimensions (it is fully annotated with sources) here:


that you may find useful for referring to experimental results and dimensions

Jose' Rodal, Ph.D.

Czeko said...

Not directly related to this topic, but still worth a share imo.


How MiHsC could help here ?

Mike McCulloch said...

Hi Jose'. Many thanks for the collective Table of Results which is just what's needed (data first, always) and has already been of use to me, and for your report which has given me a better impression of the waves possible inside a cavity, including Unruh waves, and the gradient in wave power that can result. How sensitive is the result to the rounded ends you assumed? One possible caveat to your increase in length (l) is that it would be ideal to maintain the wide end's width (wb) so it's slightly larger than l.

Mike McCulloch said...

Hi Czeko. Yes, this is the sort of thing where MiHsC might help. I wrote a paper on dwarf galaxies (http://arxiv.org/abs/1004.3303) but its conclusions assume the dwarfs are far away from other sources of gravity. To model things in the Coma cluster would require a model. I tend to shy away from complex astrophysical systems like this because the mainstream can always say 'well, put some dark matter here and here..etc and we can model it too'. What's needed is a system, like globular clusters or Proxima Centauri, that have anomalies that can't be fudged with dark matter.

Zephir said...

How to drain the energy from ZPE - maybe you'll find it inspirational...

a friend with common interests said...

with no credentials i would like to offer you my humble and entirely non-mathematical opinion that you have a much better grasp of what is going on re:EmDrive than anybody who I have found, I assume due to the similarities between the casimir and Em which are not readily apparent to most as they are (perhaps mis-) understood currently. I am nobody so far as this debate is concerned and am not really at liberty to elucidate particulars regarding the matter in any detail. It is safe to say I know a great deal bout FTL applications even where my understanding falls short. My opinions can be found on many of the ongoing debates/articles, and although publication affords me the ability to express my opinion somewhat it's not something we can discuss for reasons I cant disclose, particularly to FTL team members from any ongoing project. It is important that indigenous technology progress as just that even through agoniziing uncertainty and failure. That said I have read a bit on the topic, including your casimir paper. The wave nodal structures found near the conical surfaces of the EmDrive housing are very important to understanding the apparently magically induced energy gains i'm really not allowed to go into further detail but advise consideration and focus in those spots as a way to perhaps deduce the actual phenomenon at work, particularly if they are displaying stability and other behaviours which are being witnessed and are not to my knowledge being publicly discussed - if the drive is functioning properly. The semingly impossible yet quite visiblly stable and ever fluxing waveforms on display terminating at the nodes are not just appearing to move in multiple time vectors that is very real. I'm way out of line being this explicit but am pretty sure if you have had a chance to look inside the operating drive you know exactly what I am getting at, and there are strong correspondences with effects also evident in the casimir at least from the point of view of an agitated plenum or ZPE field as you call it. I'm pretty sure this has been noticed because science as we practice it seemingly breaks down here, hence the "impossible" effects. If you look into the resonant cavity its clear enough that I'm not blowing smoke and am familiar with this technology, I am unaware if the prototypes function with physical openings as this is not the methodology I practice to see inside the chamber while the drive is engaged as my toolset exceeds the EMD engineers' substantially. Anyway, I wish you luck and genuinely think you have a pretty good grip and will likely figure it out without external assistance. It is in reality of no consequence if people understand how it works as long as it works. There is no reason for you to take anything I say seriously, I'm not a scientist and If anybody reads this weeks publications my opinion is very clear and in 3 or 4 places is expressed in great detail. Anything beyond that I will probably lose my own ride, which is far nicer and has a much different configuration, but these are a class of technologies which share some bedrock functionality in pulling the impossible energy out of nowhere as they wantonly go whatever speeds they are capable of with complete disregard for our or even science's opinions or approval. I appreciate your time and eagerly await the news announcing the successful LEO test nobody is supposed to know about. Its a short walk for a pirate to the edge of the Planck and while not homeless he is definitely not to be found within any housing if you follow me.