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 9 May 2016

Response to John Baez: 1

Here are my responses to John Baez who wrote a blog criticising MiHsC as applied to the emdrive and other things. I sincerely appreciate his comments and they are useful since they show up what is not yet understood by the mainstream about MiHsC. Indeed, his criticisms are based mostly on a lack of understanding of MiHsC, and can be refuted. Below I have copied the most pertinent comments from his blog (in quotes and italic, see also the blog link below) and responded:

"So the inertial mass of an object is caused  by the Unruh radiation?   Okay... yup, that's certainly new.   Let me just say there's no evidence for this."

I have shown that by assuming that inertia IS caused by Unruh radiation (made non-uniform by horizons) I can suddenly predict the anomalies that have baffled mainstream physics, for example: galaxy rotation without dark matter, cosmic acceleration...etc. This constitutes evidence.

"[The Casimir effect] is a reasonably large force when the plates are a few nanometers apart, but it rapidly becomes weaker as you move them farther apart.   So now imagine they're as far apart as most distant galaxies we can see...."

This shows a misunderstanding of MiHsC. The new effects are not to do with the separation of galaxies, but due to the Unruh waves (which are very long for accelerations as low as those at the edge of galaxies) which are disallowed by the Hubble horizon. For the size argument, see my next comment.

"at rather small accelerations the Unruh effect is so tiny that the thermal radiation has wavelengths even larger than the size of the observable Universe.  That's true.  And that of course means that this effect is even more absurdly weak than in the example I gave."

In fact, I'm saying that these larger-than-Hubble-scale Unruh waves logically cannot exist. Yes, the predicted effect is usually incredibly small, but since the accelerations in the edges of galaxies are so tiny anyway, MiHsC makes a detectable difference. Also, it is not the Unruh effect alone that I am implicating in inertia but the way information horizons make the Unruh radiation non-uniform in space so that new dynamics/energy can be got out of it. An analogy for the way MiHsC does this, that I used in my book, is that horizons are selecting/deselecting or tuning Unruh waves (quantum vacuum) in a similar way to how my fingers select particular acoustic waves (nodes, notes) when I play my flute, or when a guitarist plays a guitar.

"Again, two things stand out: 1) it doesn't work like this"

I realise this is meant half-jokingly but of course it is not valid to argue that a theory is wrong, just because you believe it's wrong.

"Planck's constant - the number that shows up in every calculation in quantum mechanics - never shows up in this paper.  So McCulloch is not actually doing anything with the Unruh effect!"

Planck's constant is in there, but since E=hc/lambda and the lambda (wavelength) has been constrained via resonance to be proportional to the length of the cavity L, it is possible to write E=hc/2L and so h can be broken up and written in terms of E, c and L which is what I did implicitly in the paper.

"So his photons have mass - and on top of that, the mass changes with time: see his Equation 4!"

It is well known that photons must have inertial mass, it is just rest mass they lack. As experimental proof, light sails depend on the momentum transfer from light which requires inertial mass. Theoretically Einstein showed that energy is equivalent to inertial mass. Photons have energy, so they must have inertial mass.

I hope John Baez and others read this, and come back with a more empirical set of criticisms. That is how it works.


John Baez' blog: Link (scroll down to 'bad physics')

My MiHsC-emdrive paper on the arXiv:  https://arxiv.org/abs/1604.03449


Unknown said...

Just a thought. If the EMDRIVE changes the inertia of the light, can we not measure it using a laser and a radiation pressure measurement. Measure the result at the large end then switch to the short end and then back rapidly many times to compensate for the variability of the laser. Try some cavities of different shapes (e.g. start with a cylinder to ensure results are same at both ends). The measurement should not be based on inertia as it would compensate, but torsion or elasticity or EM force something (need to show theoretically that the sensor is constant when its inertia changes). This should be feasible and would be definite proof. Are you intending to do something like this?
Nick Walker

DataPacRat said...

Some further discussion on the EmDrive and MiHsC is going on in the comments at http://slatestarcodex.com/2016/05/09/links-516-linko-de-mayo/ (buried in threads on politics and sociology); to find the relevant comments, one thread is started by "smocc", at 10:51 pm, the other by "Phil" at 1:08 am. I would be happy to read any responses you would like to write to the points raised, either in your blog or comments here, or in the comments there, or in the backup comments thread on Reddit at https://www.reddit.com/r/slatestarcodex/comments/4imk2b/links_516_linko_de_mayo/ .

Thank you for your time.

Mike McCulloch said...

DataPacRat: I've had a look at the discussions. The clearest criticism made was Jonathan Lee's though I don't agree with his 'arbitrary' comment: I had to approximate MiHsC to apply it to the emdrive, but it is not arbitrary in any way.

He makes a good comment about non-local communication between a local object and the Hubble horizon. My answer to this is that the phase speed of a monochromatic Unruh wave is not limited by the speed of light since it carries no information. So a local Unruh wave may well be aware of distant horizons without paradox.

DataPacRat said...


I'm trying some science-fiction writing, and am including MiHsC. I've put up the relevant snippet at https://docs.google.com/document/d/1C93V5isVK9OeEGzxRLeN_iIFrf426E9cV2iM1qOtU8s/edit . Is there any chance that you'd be willing to offer any advice on how badly I've mangled my explanation, and what I could do to improve it?

Thank you for your time.

Mike McCulloch said...

You got it right, bar a few details, and you explain the logic of it well. I'd suggest on line 17 ('a common result') saying a little bit more about the direction of the force (less vacuum energy on the horizon-side, so a net force that way: inertia) I'd also suggest changing 'inflation' on line 24 to 'cosmic acceleration'. MiHsC predicts something like inflation, but I haven't shown whether it agrees exactly yet. Cosmic acceleration is the more important process anyway: being more directly observed. Good luck with it! Do let me know how it goes.

qraal said...

Hi Mike. One question I have about MiHsC is just how such uber-long wavelength Unruh radiation interacts with particles. How does that work, since they're so gigantic?

Mike McCulloch said...

qraal: It is a virtual version of the process by which light sails work: radiation pressure. With the light sail the source of the radiation pushing it is apparent to us: the Sun. In the case of MiHsC the source of the Unruh radiation (only seen by the object, not us) is a horizon which also disallows some wavelengths. Yes, the wavelengths may be very long but they still possess tiny amounts of momentum and radiation pressure, and when these are damped on one side of the object by the horizon the asymmetry can cause a push, especially in deep space (at galactic edges) where accelerations are tiny anyway.

qraal said...

Well, virtual until there's an asymmetry caused by a horizon - then it's real.

I'm intrigued by the fact that the proton's radius is the size of a Rindler horizon for quarks spinning around at light-speed. It's far too sketchy to be more than a hint of what's happening, but it seems like a pointer to the processes involved.

Analytic D said...

I think very high centripetal/neighborhood acceleration creating close Rindler horizons definitely lights a path towards particle dynamics. How can the story of the Standard Model be told in this language? Those descriptive phenomena are empirically confirmed, so the two ideas currently coexist somehow in reality.

Unknown said...

I hope you'll forgive an intrusion from a non-physicist, but I should like to make a suggestion.

Get together with Shawyer, design and have built an emdrive micro-satellite, and persuade one of the Billionaire Space Bosses to give it a free ride up to Low Earth Orbit. Spot it outside and give it a push. With an add-on transmitter to say where it is you have a pretty good chance of proving it all via Kickstarter.

DataPacRat said...

Mike McCulloch said...

> Good luck with it! Do let me know how it goes.

I've just finished the relevant writing project, whose ~22,000 words can be read at http://www.datapacrat.com/weirdtopia/index.html . I hope to return to it some day, to explore some of the further ramifications, but for now, it's essentially complete as-is.

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

Assuming that Q is linear proportional to the magnetron input power.
Is it?
Would a 7,500 fold power increase result an equivalent increase in net force?

Judging by the data you have provided. Se link below:
Applying a 7,5 MW magnetron should yield in the range of 67N to 2,35kN?

Mike McCulloch said...

Ulrik: I don't know of a correlation between P and Q. To keep it simple, MiHsC predicts a thrust of:

F=PQL/c * ((1/ws)-(1/wb))

P = power (W), Q = quality factor of cavity, L = cavity length (m), ws and wb are widths of the small and big ends (m). So thrust depends on P, Q, L, ws and wb..

matheworman said...

On the Emdrive: Magnetron has small torque residue due to the Faraday motor effect...

WarpTech said...

Nice rebuttal of Mr. Baez's comments Mike! I haven't had any correspondence with him in ages, but he was alway set in his dogma, quick to dismiss new ideas and does not try to understand them.

Ziggy said...

The following is clear and simple explanation
how the EmDrive works :