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

Tuesday 23 August 2016

The Emperor's Naked!

Karl Popper made a statements that should by engraved above the entrance to every proud physics department:

"A theory can never be proven, but it can be falsified, meaning that it can and should be scrutinized 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."

In 1915 Einstein finished general relativity and this theory has been successful in regimes where the acceleration is high (such is in the inner Solar system and close-orbiting binary stars. Then in 1933 (by Fritz Zwicky) and in 1980 (by Vera Rubin) it was found that galaxies were orbiting so fast at their low-acceleration edges that, if they had any decency at all, they should explode centrifugally. Yet they don't: they generally persist in sensible bound/round shapes.

This means that most of the observed cosmos, the bit with a low acceleration, does not agree with general relativity. The theory has been hugely falsified, but tell that to a mainstream physicist at a conference (I have done) and you'll be pigeon-holed in a category somewhere below holocaust denier and they'll walk away in disgust. Speaking objectively, given GR's failure with 90% of the data, you can either claim that general relativity is wrong, and invent a new theory (for example I have suggested MiHsC, which reduces the outward centrifugal force in galaxies) or you can claim that there is a huge amount of invisible matter holding the galaxy together by gravity: dark matter.

There are several reasons why it is obvious that the problem is a failure of theory and not due to dark matter:

1) The galactic problems always start at a radius where the acceleration goes below about 10^-10 m/s^2 which is also the cosmic acceleration, so it is obviously linked (in a way that MiHsC explains simply).

2) Globular clusters and wide binary stars, which are far too small to have any dark matter, also show the same anomaly, starting at the same critical acceleration.

3) Many other well known anomalies, eg: cosmic acceleration, the low-l CMB anomaly, the flyby anomaly, the Pioneer anomaly, Tajmar's spinning disc results, the emdrive and the proton radius puzzle are all consistent with the galactic rotation anomaly if you look within the framework of MiHsC.

4) Dark matter is just a mess. It needs huge amount of new matter to be added in an ad hoc way and it also needs new physics to keep it spread out in a galactic halo.

5) There is no evidence for dark matter even after 40 years of very expensive looking.

6) Philosophically: dark matter defends a theory (GR) that failed to predict galaxy rotation properly, by inventing an ad hoc manoeuvre that makes it less falsifiable (see Popper's warning above). If a theory uses an ad hoc fix that is, even worse: as vague as a bad politician's promises, then beware!

As a result of these points I'm amazed that the rest of physics is spending most of its money (each dark matter detector is on the order of $100 million dollars) to defend general relativity by looking for dark matter and almost no-one is challenging the theory. I agree the dark matter option should have been looked at, a null result, like Michelson and Morley's is useful, but it must be in proportion to other options. Instead dark matter is tacitly assumed in journal papers and magazines articles, and there are even dark matter conferences which are inherently unscientific, since they pre-assume the solution they're looking for!

As Popper suggested, instead of trying to defend the status quo, it has always been more effective to attack the prevailing theory. It is easy to attack general relativity since the counter-evidence is already plentiful (see above), so why don't they?

After ten tears of fighting it, I think the obsession with dark matter is like the age-old story of the Emperor's new clothes. People are told that only the cleverest can see the clothes (dark matter), so everyone of course says that they can see them when the Emperor goes on walkabout awarding post-doc positions, but eventually some idiot comes along and says 'Ho Ho The Emperor's Naked!' and the spell is broken. Well, I'm willing to be the idiot, and I have suggested MiHsC, and, although I say it myself, MiHsC is far more successful than GR, absolutely beautiful and simple in form, joins quantum mechanics and special relativity for the first time, and offers a new way to get energy and propulsion (by learning to put horizons in the zero point field). Since we're talking about invisible fashions, it seems appropriate to quote Coco Chanel:

The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.


Unknown said...

Keep going! It took many years for people to abandon aether as well. Scientific revolutions are crawling slowly before they flourish.

ersin said...

As a total outsider, can I suggest you to coin a more catchy name for your model?

tyy said...

Thought I admit GR is far from perfect, reading this sets of my crackpot detectors.

But if your theory proves successful, then congratulations. Right now methinks you might be wrong.

Jack Cole said...

tyy - Don't be lazy. If you have a legitimate criticism, please share it. Your "crackpot detector" is not a scientific instrument for testing theories. :)

Dr. McCulloch makes a number of interesting observations above and predictions based on his theory. Maybe it will turn out to be wrong, but may still help advance knowledge towards something better than GR. With GR, there are too many fudge factors with the intent of keeping current theories floating. It is certainly worth considering alternative theories that do not invoke undetectable (so far) matter.

Andrew Jaremko said...

Dr. McCulloch - first of all, thank you for your work. I read your book with great interest and will read it again carefully. (I have a B.Sc. in physics from 1970 and have maintained my interest since then.) I agree that physicists need to take the anomalies seriously and shouldn't simply walk away without finding out what you are actually saying. This post sounds a little like a rant, but I think you're entitled to blow off some steam.

I haven't searched your posts to find out what you make of the galactic cluster gravitational lensing analyses that seem to support the dark matter hypothesis. Lawrence Krauss in A Universe From Nothing cites the lensing as consistent with the dark matter density inferred from the galaxy rotations, but without discussing the globular cluster anomalies.

As I understand it, Newtonian gravitation predicts that the paths of electromagnetic radiation are bent, and Einstein became famous when Eddington's measurements of light deflection in the 1919 eclipse were better matched by the GR prediction than the Newtonian.

Can MiHsC address the gravitational lensing data? I haven't attempted any calculation of the accelerations the photons would feel during gravitational bending of their paths. Would this acceleration be in the relevant regime? Is this a sensible question, or am I talking nonsense?

AdamW said...

My physics fails at this level. Are you saying something like there's a minimum curvature to spacetime? Or do we have to throw out the whole idea of geodesics in curved spacetime? If the latter, I think I can understand the resistance. How does MiHsC fit with GR?

qraal said...

There's plenty of data showing *dark mass* exists, just no hard data indicating what the f*** it is. Thus the need for alternatives like your theory Mike.

Unknown said...

Hello Mike. A really interesting article has appeared in https://arxiv.org/abs/1606.06291 about an Milky Way sized ultra-diffuse galaxy galaxy called Dragonfly 44, with apparent very low mass, very high dark matter content (99.9% dark matter).

Can this be explained by MiHsc? thanks!

Mike McCulloch said...

Comely PM: I've just been told by a few people about that, so I just now did a quick calculation and MiHsC predicts the observed velocity dispersion from the visible mass within error without needing any dark matter or any adjustability. Game over IMO :)

tyy said...

Whilst I support anyone's freedom to investigate whatever he want, I can't keep but wondering, why are the non-experts who make most of the extraordinary claims.

If MiHsC was a plausible theory with interesting and testable predictions, I would expect to see some support from the establishment.

I don't see any.

Standard physics may be in some kind of a stalemate for several reasons, not sure if dark matter is one of them, but the problems won't be solved by theories as weak as MiHsC (nobody can remember that acronym, by the way.)

Alain_Co said...

epistemology 101

note also today's fear of reputation trap, of budget losses.
Some subjects flagged as pseudo science are damaging even to criticize them, so don't even speak about it.

finally there is no big budget to expect from MiHsC.
No 1Bn$ dark matter experiment and thousands of PhD to pay.

Mike McCulloch said...

Dear Alain: Good point, although there should eventually be a more progressive and even bigger budget from MiHsC, since it predicts a new source of energy/thrust.

David Schroeder said...

Hi Mike:

I came across your website and theory several weeks ago, having never previously heard of MiHsC, and have to say that it is an extraordinarily good idea. In one fell swoop it banishes the need for mysterious Dark Energy and Dark Matter, resolves to a considerable degree the galaxy rotation problem, solves the flyby anomaly, and the Pioneer spacecrafts anomaly, and reports of anomalous superconductor acceleration effects. Yet it is a relatively simple idea, thus satisfying the Occam's Razor principle to avoid complex explanations when simpler alternatives are available. I have a feeling that if Einstein were alive today he would be extremely intrigued by your theory, as it resolves the discrepancies in the very low acceleration regime where, without positing Dark Energy/Matter, General Relativity has a problem.

Although I didn't finish a physics/electrical engineering degree, I had a lifelong passionate interest in fundamental physics. This led me to come up with an idea that addresses the other end of the acceleration spectrum as MiHsC - that is, extremely high accelerations in the atomic domain. Ironically, it is abbreviated with a somewhat similar letter sequence as MiHsC - FIH. However, it is highly speculative. If it's OK to post URLs on your blog, here it is: http://starflight1.freeyellow.com/Oldposts.html

Alain_Co said...

By the way, as I understand from your position (too bad there is no kindly skeptical peer review to help) MiHsC effect is not a new effect, but something we shoudl already observe if QM is right as much as relativity referential equivalence principle, the Unruh radiation ?

so MiHsC is not simply a solution to dark epicyles, but something required by "standard models" if you consider them fully?

what is what QM+R requires from MiHsC, and what is your "freedom to propose as new" into MiHsC?

Mike McCulloch said...

Alain: Well, you're right that MiHsC combines QM and relativity (including Unruh and horizons), but there is a major 'new bit' in MiHsC which does not follow logically from those two, and that is that the Unruh waves have to 'fit' into horizons. The reason for that new bit, is informational. To accept that new bit (and predict all these anomalies) it is necessary to subtly violate equivalence (part of the standard model).

Alain_Co said...

I forgot that key novelty.

one idea to understand better the core of MiHsC maybe to express this new axiom, as a conservation law, or as the dual expression as a symmetry law.

I remember that you already expressed a kind of conservation law.
how could that conservation law be expressed as a symmetry ?

AdamW said...

Does a minimum acceleration imply a minimum spacetime curvature? Or am I completely off-base?

AdamW said...

... or, in fact, a quantum of curvature ...?

Mike McCulloch said...

A minimum (quantum of) curvature would be the interpretation in GR: neat way to put it. It may not be so simple though, because MiHsC is at odds with GR in that it violates the EP (very slightly and in a way not detectable in torsion balances).