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 19 December 2017

Low Energy Nuclear Reactions & QI: 1

Fusion is a process by which two atoms/nucleii of hydrogen (a proton, possibly with neutrons attached) fuse to form an atom/nucleus of Helium (two protons, perhaps with neutrons). Since the two nucleii to be fused are positively-charged they repel each other, and to get them to fuse they have to be at a very high temperature. One hundred million degrees Kelvin or so is needed to give them enough kinetic energy to randomly collide. The sun's centre is hot enough, and it is a huge fusion reaction turning hydrogen into helium, and only avoids exploding and destroying the Solar system because of its own self-gravity, which holds it in.

Fusion releases a lot of energy, so for 70 years people have been trying to make it happen on Earth, in close confinement. So far 25 billion dollars have been spent on this (Storms, 2012) and the focus has been on huge machines that use magnetic fields to confine plasma: magnetic versions of the Sun (The so-called ITER project). Imagine the surprise then, when in 1989 Martin Fleischmann (then one of the world's experts in electro-chemistry) and Stanley Pons, claimed they had produced fusion in a little test tube! Their experiment is shown below.

They put an electrolyte containing heavy water in a test tube (heavy water is just like water H2O, but the hydrogen H is replaced by deuterium D, which has an extra neutron, so D2O). They put two electrodes in, the cathode (negative charge) made of palladium and the anode (positive) of platinum, and passed a current between them (electrolysis). The D2O separated into oxygen, which being negative headed for the anode and bubbled off, and deuterium which, being positive, packed itself into the palladium cathode, since palladium has this odd property of soaking up deuterium like a sponge. Several scientists over the past 50 years had predicted that the deuterium could fuse in palladium being in such a packed state. Apparently it did, releasing a lot of heat, see the orange-red 'star'. The announcement of that thrilled the world with the possibility of having such a FusionCell in every home. Virtually limitless cheap energy.

But revolutions are never pretty and this was the usual hysterical mess, because very soon it was noticed that if the deuterium was actually fusing, it should be emitting neutrons and gamma rays and whatever was happening wasn't doing that. A bonus for safety, but because the observations did not fit standard theory, cold fusion was classified as fringe. A few brave souls continued to investigate, and instead of cold fusion, they now call the field LENR (Low Energy Nuclear Reactions). So far there have been about 200 independent replications of the excess heating effect so something odd and potentially very useful, is certainly happening, but why?

I was persuaded to look at LENR recently by twitterer B.McIntyre who pointed out that my 2017 paper on the proton radius anomaly (link to blog entry) might have implications for LENR. His tweet exploded in my head during a tutorial the following day. A few days later I calculated the size of the effect on the train to St Andrews and it was too small, but then on the train back from St Andrews I read Ed Storms' summary (see below) and found out that LENR happens whenever there are tiny cracks in the palladium. See the gray mottled pattern on the palladium in the schematic - cracks in the palladium where the fusion happens. I have applied QI to confined cavities/horizons before (the early cosmos, emdrives, sonoluminescence..) and it changes the physics in intriguing ways..


Fleischmann, M., S. Pons, M. Hawkins, 1989. Electrochemically induced nuclear fusion of deuterium. J. Electroanal. Chem., 261, 301-308.

Storms, E., 2012. A students' guide to cold fusion. http://lenr-canr.org/acrobat/StormsEastudentsg.pdf

Friday 8 December 2017

Visit to St Andrews University

The University of St Andrews is one of the best in the UK, and its Physics and Astronomy department, according to the Guardian, is the best physics department in the UK, so, of course, they wanted to hear about quantised inertia (QI) :)

I went up there by train on Monday and stayed with them for a couple of nights and gave a seminar on quantised inertia on Tuesday. The talk seemed to go well since there were quite a few questions at the end, and no-one stood up and threw general relativity textbooks at me.

The most useful and enjoyable activity was discussing things informally, and often with a beer :) and Indian food, with the Professor who invited me, and two keen young cosmology PhD students who made some very good points. In the first meeting they made a toast to quantised inertia, and then they started, as they should, to try to pull apart the theory. That is a extremely fruitful approach.

Their first criticism went something like this. It seems inconsistent that I model a star orbiting round a galaxy by using the very low acceleration of its galactic orbit (v^2/r) and saying that the inertial mass has dropped because of QI (and thereby explaining anomalous galactic rotation without dark matter), but the actual components of the stellar system, say the Sun and Jupiter show a much higher mutual acceleration, and the atoms in the Sun for example are zooming around at very high acceleration, so shouldn't the inertia of the system be normal in QI?

I gave an answer to that in this blog post. That is still valid and I explained it to them (they had some questions about whether Rindler horizons mask the cosmic ones), but a simpler way to say this is that in quantised inertia, inertia is not a property of an object, but is a property of an interaction between objects. This makes philosophical sense, since an object alone in an empty universe would not be able to have any meaningful inertia because it would have no way to know if it was accelerating or not. I agree with Mach and the early Einstein so I do not see space-time as something that one can determine one's motion relative to. This means that for Jupiter, when you work out its response, in QI, to the gravity from the galactic centre, the inertia needs to be reduced in line with its low acceleration relative to the galactic centre (the inertia of that interaction), but when you work out Jupiter's response to the gravity from the Sun, the acceleration is large so the inertial mass in QI is not reduced. This means that the theory predicts the behaviour of the atoms in the Sun, the Sun and Jupiter, and the whole galaxy in a self-consistent way. It also means that each object has more than one inertia. The challenge remains how to encode this in the maths, and that was their other criticism: that the maths for QI is not yet fully formed, and does not use the same symbols or metrics as the maths they use, and this is advisable if I want cosmologists to start modelling with it.

I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to St Andrews University. The town itself is very pleasant: they have a city wall, huge golf links (though I don't play) and a beach, but I did not see it this time. I was told, and I thought it was very Scottish, that as a mild 'test of courage' the University gets students to walk along the pier in their gowns. My impression of the people in the Physics and Astronomy department was good because the audience I had seemed curious and open-minded (they did not look at me as if I was a bug, as sometimes happens!) yet they were keen to try to identify any problem. I noticed that someone in the department was also bothering to leave interesting articles lying open on tables for students to read, and the academics pin up their papers outside their doors. There was a general attitude, not of looking efficient, but of genuine interest in what they were doing.

Tuesday 14 November 2017

QI: Physics Reunited

Someone recently asked me to explain quantised inertia in a series of four drawings. I am probably overfond of brevity, so here it is in one drawing, but also with an explanation of how quantised inertia really does reunify physics in a new, beautifully simple and useful way.

Quantised inertia (Qi) deals with the property of inertial mass, for a long time, in my opinion, the blind spot of physics. The figure below shows a ball (black circle) accelerated to the left (red arrow) and also shows Heisenberg's uncertainty principle which states that for an quantum object, its uncertainty of position (dx) times its uncertainty in momentum (dp) must be equal to or greater than a constant (hbar, a very small number). Now we introduce relativity which says that information is limited to the speed of light and so information from a certain distance behind the ball in its acceleration can't catch up, so there is a unknowable zone to the right from the point of view of the ball. There is also an unknown zone very far away since stars far off are moving away faster than light thanks to cosmic expansion. The result is the solid black line in the Figure, a horizon around the ball. If we now apply the uncertainty principle at each angle around the ball, then you get a value for the momentum uncertainty at each angle that is a mirror image of the position uncertainty. The uncertainty in momentum around the ball is shown by the dashed shape. This schematic is only two dimensional, the actual shapes will be twin-lobed and will looked more like an egg-timer.
The dashed shape means that in the opposite direction to the acceleration, the ball's uncertainty of momentum is higher and therefore there is more of a chance that quantum fluctuations will push the ball backwards against its acceleration, in this case to the right, and this predicts the inertial force we know and love (the blue arrow) which keeps our balls traveling in straight lines on pool tables (see the 1st paper below for details). Any deviation is cancelled by this combination of relativity and quantum mechanics (called quantised inertia).

Quantised inertia also predicts something new: that if the acceleration is very low, then the solid-lined shape starts to expand to the right, becoming more circular and at very low accelerations it is just a circle (sphere). So the momentum (dashed) shape is also a circle and symmetrical on both sides, and so it is equally likely that quantum fluctuations will push the ball in any direction and so the inertial mass disappears in a new way at low accelerations in this model. Qi happens to predict galaxy rotation precisely, and without dark matter, since the inertia mass and centrifugal force on slowly-accelerating galactic edge stars is lower than expected (see the 2nd reference below).

Quantised inertia also predicts that if we could shrink the dx envelope (solid-lined shape) in one direction by making our own horizon there, then because of the uncertainty principle the momentum envelope (dashed-lined shape) would expand in the opposite direction. What does this mean? It means things would move in a new manner in that direction. This is what I think is happening in the emdrive. In fact the emdrive looks very much like the solid-lined shape, so Qi predicts it should move towards its narrow end, and it does! It does so by the amount, well, in most cases, predicted by a crude application of quantised inertia.

There you go: physics reunified in at least one way, simply, dark matter gone and a new reaction-mass-less propulsion method. What's the catch? Well, more direct experimental evidence is needed, and a full mathematical structure needs to be worked on: there's lots of scope for people to join in.


McCulloch, M.E., 2016. Quantised inertia from relativity and the uncertainty principle. EPL, 115, 69001. Preprint.

McCulloch, M.E., 2017. Galaxy rotations from quantised inertia and visible matter only. ApSS, 362, 149. Paper

Monday 30 October 2017

Dark Matter Does Not Exist

I was inspired to write this blog post when I saw an advert online for "Dark Matter Day", which mainstream physics is trying to set for 31st October. I think it should actually be celebrated on the 32nd October, since dark matter doesn't exist. How do I know it doesn't exist? This blog entry is intended to present some of the evidence against it.

1. Renzo's rule. When we look at galaxy rotation curves (how the orbital speed of the stars varies as you go out from the centre) the variations in the orbital speed are always coincident with variations in the light intensity (ie: the visible mass). The rotation curve follows the light curve. This means that the speed is determined totally by the visible mass, and not by anything invisible. Renzo's rule has been generalised and broadened by Lelli et al. (2016) (see the references below).

2. Milgrom's acceleration cutoff. As pointed out by Milgrom a long time ago, galaxies only start to misbehave when the acceleration of the stars as you go out from the centre drops below about 2x10^-10 m/s^2. This dynamical relation is very difficult to explain with any sort of matter distribution. This cutoff is also suspiciously close to the cosmic acceleration, a clue that should not be ignored.

3. Globular clusters. In order to fudge general relativity to predict galaxy rotations right, astrophysicists have to add dark matter in a particular smooth halo in and around the galaxies, and so they have to invent physics for it to stay smoothly spread out. This is why the result of Scarpa et al. (2006) is so crucial. They showed that tiny globular clusters (little conglomerations of stars within galaxies) also showed a galaxy rotation problem writ small and this cannot be explained by dark matter, which must be smooth and not congregate, without messing up the full scale galaxies.

4. Even more revealing than globular clusters, binary star systems definitely should not contain lumps of diffuse dark matter, and yet when two binaries are orbiting very far apart (so-called wide binaries) they too show a galaxy rotation problem writ even smaller (Hernandez et al., 2012).

5. The cusp-core problem. The lambda-CDM (cold dark matter) model dominates astrophysics since it predicts the CMB spectrum (if you set its arbitrary numbers right), but when it is used to predict the distribution of dark matter in galactic centres, it produces a distribution that causes GR to predict the wrong rotation speeds, and so this disribution is 'adjusted' (de Blok, 2009). A fudge of a fudge!

6. Lack of evidence. Dark matter has not been found after 40 years or so of expensive looking, something not mentioned by most cosmology books, just as the aether was not found..

7. Philosophical objections. dark matter was invented because general relativity did not predict the rotation of any real galaxies. It had failed, but instead of changing the theory astrophysicists worked out with computers what complex distribution of invisible matter was needed to make GR work and went to look for it. This has worked in the past, look at Neptune which was needed to explain the odd orbit of Uranus, but Neptune was a small amount of mass in the plausible shape of a planet, whereas dark matter is the invention of 10 times as much mass as is seen (sometimes up to 1000 times), in a completely arbitrary distribution, and requiring new dark-physics to go with it. You can explain almost anything with a hypothesis like that, and yet predict nothing..

8. Quantised inertia predicts the rotation of disc galaxies of all scales very simply, non-arbitrarily and without dark matter (see my latest paper).

As said above, I shall celebrate Dark Matter day on the 32nd October and I invite you to join me :)


Lelli, McGaugh, Schombert & Pawlovski, 2016. One Law To Rule Them All: The Radial Acceleration Relation of Galaxies https://arxiv.org/abs/1610.08981

Scarpa et al., 2006. Globular Clusters as a Test for Gravity in the Weak Acceleration Regime https://arxiv.org/abs/astro-ph/0601581

Hernandez et al., 2012. Wide binaries as a critical test for Gravity theories https://arxiv.org/abs/1205.5767

de Blok, W.J.G., 2009. The core-cusp problem. https://arxiv.org/abs/0910.3538

Friday 20 October 2017

The Joy of Anomalies

It is the fashion in mainstream physics today to always start from the existing theory. For example, general relativity is always assumed to be right. If you don't believe that, try questioning it and see what happens! As a result the mainstream need to work out what data they need to find to make it right. Hence the search for dark matter, dark energy, dark flows, which brings in lots of funding too. This is the process everywhere, but it is the opposite of the scientific method which puts data first and reigned between say 1660 (founding of the Royal Society, who said 'disregard theory and look at data') and 1988 (when data-driven Feynman died). If you want to be cheeky, you could call the post-1988 way the 'religious' method, but without the attached morality.

Probably because I was educated in a more grounded form of physics (BSc in physics, PhD in ocean physics) and loved reading Feynman, I am pre-1988. What I like to do, and have ever since my physics degree, is look for interesting anomalies (data that defies the theory). Actually, before my physics degree I was fond of theories and philosophy and did not bother much about data. I spent hours in the library reading about Spinoza, and trying to devise theories from beautiful thoughts alone, but something changed when I did my third year research project at York University: An analysis of a chaotic Duffing oscillator. I built such an oscillator in the university's metalworking lab. It was a beautiful thing and I wish I still had it! (see my schematic below). A metal pendulum with a magnet at its base, repelled from its equilibrium point by a magnet underneath. It had two side-arms with magnets attached pointing down. One arm was driven sinusoidally with a electromagnetic coil around the magnet, the motion of the magnet on the other side was sensed with another electromagnetic coil. The signal was fed to a BBC computer, that also by integration could work out from the measured speed, the position of the pendulum. I collected and plotted strange attractors of the chaotic motion - the pendulum oscillates between two stable positions chaotically.

When I started my PhD shortly after, I began reading Feynman's books. Also, I eventually focussed on a beautiful anomaly. Cruise data has shown that every summer, a thin cold, fresh surface layer spreads over the north Atlantic. Why? I built a simple layered computer model of it, showed the spreading was due to wind-driven (Ekman) flow blowing polar water south and showed that the air-sea interaction heated the cold surface as it went, but did not erase the freshness, so it becomes unexpectedly buoyant (being now warm and fresh, both properties reduce water density). It forms an insulating cap on the ocean that has implications for climate (paper).

Later when I worked at the Met Office I was tasked with looking at the output of the ocean model and I decided, being fond of data by now, to look at the output without the smooth interpolation that was being done. I pixelated the raw sea surface salinity data instead, and what immediately appeared were nice bands of fresh surface water underneath rainbands. So I developed a simple model of those as well, and that predicted consequences for weather too.

I've always been keen on fundamental physics & astronomy and so I couldn't help but notice anomalies like the galaxy rotation problem, the Pioneer anomaly and that they both involve the same odd acceleration 10^-10 m/s^2. I developed a simple model to explain those, called MiHsC or quantised inertia and it turns out it predicts a lot of other anomalies, such as the emdrive, and cosmic acceleration which I did not know existed till it heard about it on the car radio and thought "MiHsC predicts that!"

I do love looking for anomalies or mysteries. That is why mainstream physics now seems so dry because they are so confident that they know it all and anomalies are brushed under the carpet with arbitrary fudges like dark matter. In my latest attempt to fight back, I have started writing #AnomalyoftheDay on twitter, documenting all the well-observed anomalies that prove that physics is very incomplete (eg: it only predicts 4% of the cosmos). There are many anomalies now, from the proton radius being different depending on how you measure it, the gravitational constant not being constant (blog), tapered microwave ovens which thrust slightly without expelling propellent (emdrives), odd lights flying around in Hesdallen, Norway (link), galaxies rotating in violation of Einstein, and the Cosmic Microwave Background being aligned with the Solar system in a way that would make Copernicus weep! (paper, see Figs. 1 and 2). I have a list of 40 or so anomalies and it is growing.

The tendency I and some others are fighting in mainstream physics is a huge one, a combination of hero-worship, intellectual laziness, group-think and a bias in physics towards mega-expensive solutions like dark matter detectors since bringing in the most funding gets academics promotion. My hope is to get physicists to look up from old books and funding applications and look at real anomalies again (an act which requires little or no funding and repays you with fun), or at least get taxpayers to demand they do. Only then will the mainstream see the utility of quantised inertia.

Monday 16 October 2017

The Allais Effect

I'm getting slightly respectable in my old age, being invited to talk at St Andrews University, but I always found that un-respectable anomalies (no real anomaly is respectable) are the essential signposts to new physics and to show that I have lost none of my radicalism I'm going to talk about the Allais effect and a possible way that quantised inertia might apply. Please note that this proposal is not yet solid and is just an exploration at this stage.

The Allais effect was discovered by Maurice Allais, a Frenchman who won the Nobel prize for economics. He was using a Foucault pendulum during a Solar eclipse in 1954. Usually these pendulums swing to and fro in the same plane of space because of their inertia, so that, to us on the spinning Earth, their plane of oscillation appears to turn with a period of a day (at the poles, see comments).

The first component of the Allais effect is that during a Solar eclipse the plane of rotation of the pendulum rotates more rapidly than expected during the eclipse moving through about 10 degrees and at the end of it, it rotates back into the expected orientation.

The second effect was found in 1961 by Gheorghe Jeverdan who noticed that during the eclipse the period of the pendulum also decreases by one part in 2000 or dT/T=0.0005, where T is period.

The third effect was seen by Mishra and Rao (1995) and involves a reduction of apparent gravity, and then an increase, both of about 0.5 microgals or 0.5x10^-8 m/s^2.

If confirmed, then these observations would be a useful clue in the development from quantised inertia into horizon mechanics (a new complete dynamical model). I noticed a few months ago that quantised inertia agrees with the second effect but in a manner that I hesitate to mention, because it sounds a little wacky, even to me, but here's to bold suggestions and freedom of speech.

Consider Allais' pendulum. It sees huge accelerations within the hot Sun. As you'll see, the actual acceleration doesn't matter, which is lucky since I don't know it. Lets just assume it is a big number. So according to quantised inertia the acceleration is big, the Unruh waves seen are short and a large proportion of them are 'allowed' since they fit inside the Hubble volume. Suddenly, the Sun gets covered up by the Moon, and the main acceleration the pendulum sees now is the acceleration of the Moon around the Earth which is 0.0024 m/s^2. The Unruh waves it sees are now longer, fewer fit inside the Hubble volume, and a greater proportion are disallowed so the inertial mass of the pendulum drops. The change of inertial mass predicted by QI is

dm/m = (2c^2/Theta)((1/a1-1/a2)

where c is the speed of light, Theta is the co-moving distance to the cosmic horizon and a1 and a2 are the accelerations in the Sun, and of the Moon around the Earth respectively. So putting in values

dm/m = 2x10^-10 x ((1/0.0024)-(1/bignumber))
dm/m = 2x10^-10 x ((1/0.0024)-0)
dm/m = 8.3x10^-8

The period of a pendulum (T) is given by

T = 2pi.sqrt(lm/gM)

where l is its length, m is the inertial mass of the pendulum bob, g is the gravitational acceleration and M is the gravitational mass of the bob (M .ne. m in QI). So the variation of the period will be the square root of the variation of the inertial mass, in other words

dT/T = sqrt(dm/m) = sqrt(8.3x10^-8)

dT/T = 0.0003

The observed variation in the pendulum's period (Duif, 2004, data from Saxl and Allen) was

dT/T = 0.0005

So quantised inertia (summarised here) predicts in the right ballpark. I have to say that, even to me, the process of Moon-shielding of Unruh radiation sounds quite wild at this stage, and it predicts that there should also be a diurnal effect as the Sun sets and goes behind the Earth (see second reference, far from conclusive), but I think it is important to get these edgy ideas out there, just in case someone else can add a little to it, and to avoid the descent into safe irrelevance.


Duif, C., 2004. A review of conventional explanations of anomalous observations during Solar eclipses. https://arxiv.org/abs/gr-qc/0408023

Saxl E.J., M. Allen, J. Burns, 1980. Torsion pendulum: peculiar diurnal variations in period. Letter submitted to Nature. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/284186911_AllaisBook_SAB1980

Monday 9 October 2017

List of major QI papers

Here is a list of most of the peer-reviewed papers on MiHsC/quantised inertia (QI) so far, with brief summaries. The most conclusive ones are generally towards the end of the list:

McCulloch, M.E., 2007. Modelling the Pioneer anomaly as modified inertia. Mon. Not. Roy. Astro. Soc., 376, 338-342. https://arxiv.org/abs/astro-ph/0612599 The initial conceptual paper, explaining QI and showing that it predicts the Pioneer spacecraft anomaly, which also agrees with the cosmic acceleration and 2c^2/Cosmic_scale. Despite this clue the mainstream no longer considers it an anomaly having invented a computer-aided complex fudge for it. There are lots of other suggestions for tests of QI in the discussion.

McCulloch, M.E., 2008. Can the flyby anomalies be explained by a modification of inertia? J. British Interplanetary Soc., Vol. 61, 373-378. https://arxiv.org/abs/0712.3022. Most of this paper is now out of date, but I discuss 'how to modify inertia using metamaterials' in the discussion.

McCulloch, M.E., 2008. Modelling the flyby anomalies using a modification of inertia. Mon. Not. Royal. Astro. Soc., Letters, 389 (1), L57-60. https://arxiv.org/abs/0806.4159. Testing QI on the flyby anomalies, unexpected tiny boosts in the speed of spacecraft flying by Earth, which it predicts should be larger for slower-spinning bodies.

McCulloch, M.E., 2010. Minimum accelerations from quantised inertia. EPL, 90, 29001 https://arxiv.org/abs/1004.3303. QI explains cosmic acceleration and the minimum mass of dwarf galaxies. A test is also suggested using the LHC: accelerate particles so fast that the Unruh waves they see can be interfered with by long wave radiation.

McCulloch, M.E., 2011. The Tajmar effect from quantised inertia. EPL, 95, 39002.
https://arxiv.org/abs/1106.3266. QI predicts tiny dynamical anomalies observed by Tajmar close to super-cooled spinning rings.

McCulloch, M.E., 2012. Testing quantised inertia on galactic scales. Astrophysics and Space Science, Vol. 342, No. 2, 575-578. https://arxiv.org/abs/1207.7007. My first attempt to properly model galaxy rotation. QI predicts well (within the wide error bars).

McCulloch, M.E., 2013. Inertia from an asymmetric Casimir effect. EPL, 101, 59001 https://arxiv.org/abs/1302.2775. A conceptual paper, to explain the origin of inertial mass from first principles. It is also suggested that inertia can be modified, and motion can be induced, by making an artificial horizon. ****

McCulloch, M.E., 2014. Gravity from the uncertainty principle. ApSS. 349, 957-959. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10509-013-1686-9. How to derive Newton's gravity law, from quantum mechanics! (the derivation is flawed at the end as you will see, but this is sorted out in a later paper, see below)

McCulloch, M.E., 2014. A toy cosmology using a Hubble-scale Casimir effect. Galaxies, Vol. 2(1), 81-88. http://www.mdpi.com/2075-4434/2/1/81. My first attempt at a QI cosmology - are we inside a black hole? The low-l CMB anomaly (an unexpected smoothness in the CMB at large scales) is also predicted.

McCulloch, M.E., 2015. Testing quantised inertia on the emdrive, EPL, 111, 60005. https://arxiv.org/abs/1604.03449. Shows that QI predicts the anomalous thrust from asymmetric microwave cavities (emdrives).****

Gine, J. and M.E. McCulloch, 2016. Inertia from Unruh temperatures. Modern Physics Letters A, 31, 1650107. http://www.worldscientific.com/doi/abs/10.1142/S0217732316501078. The first collaborative paper - with a more thermodynamic theme.

McCulloch, M.E., 2016. Quantised inertia from relativity & the uncertainty principle, EPL, 115, 69001. https://arxiv.org/abs/1610.06787. Conceptual. A better attempt at deriving gravity & QI from Heisenberg's uncertainty principle by assuming that what is conserved is mass-energy and information/uncertainty ****

McCulloch, M.E., 2017. Low acceleration dwarf galaxies as tests of quantised inertia. Astrophys. Space Sci., 362, 57. http://rdcu.be/px8h. Quantised inertia predicts parts of the cosmos that other theories cannot, dwarf galaxies.

Pickering, K.,  2017. The universe as a resonant cavity: a small step towards unification of MoND and MiHsC. Adv. Astro., Vol. 2, No.1: http://www.isaacpub.org/images/PaperPDF/AdAp_100063_2017021413572668843.pdf. Models the cosmos with a better cavity model and has an interesting take on the cosmic boundary.

McCulloch, M.E., 2017. Testing quantised inertia on emdrives with dielectrics. EPL, 118, 34003. http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1209/0295-5075/118/34003. A further test of QI using the emdrive, taking account of the dielectrics in them.

McCulloch, M.E., 2017. Galaxy rotations from quantised inertia and visible matter only. Astrophys. & Space Sci., 362,149. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10509-017-3128-6. Shows QI predicts galaxy rotation perfectly without the need for dark matter. It also predicts that galaxies at high redshift should spin faster for the same apparent mass: a good test of QI since no other theory predicts that, and observations now tentatively show this is the case. ****

McCulloch, M.E. and J. Gine, 2017. Modified inertial mass from information loss. Mod. Phys. Lett. A., 1750148. http://www.worldscientific.com/doi/abs/10.1142/S0217732317501486. An attempt to derive QI from a conservation of information (an improved sequel is coming..).

Wednesday 4 October 2017

LIGO: New data, too many assumptions

The award yesterday of the Nobel prize to Weiss, Thorne and Barish (and the LIGO team) for gravitational waves is interesting because they have discovered a new phenomenon. It could be gravitational waves or something else, but it should be treated as an interesting observation for further open-minded study. What bothers me about it is the assumption that the anomaly was caused by the merger of a couple of black holes in a far off galaxy, which is unfalsifiable and apparently unquestioned (as I also said in a previous blog entry).

Imagine you're sat on a beach and a particular waveform rolls in from the deep ocean. You have a supercomputer at hand and a love of dolphins and because the computer is so powerful you manage to compute the exact action a nice old dolphin out to sea must take to produce that pattern of waves. Maybe he jumped out of the sea whistling "I'm a little teapot" (have you heard of Russell's Teapot?) and plunged in with a twist of its tail. The fact that you can post-dict a scenario that leads to that pattern of waves is not surprising these days because we have such powerful computers. It does not mean you have proved it was the dolphin. It is not a direct proof: other things could have caused it, since in the case of physics the prevailing framework is not as sure as people suppose (see below). The ability of computers to invent unfalsifiable facts to support a comforting conclusion is one of the great problems of 21st century physics. To explain here's a quote from Douglas Adams (Dirk Gently's.., p55):

"..there have been several programs written that help you to arrive at decisions by properly ordering and analysing all the relevent facts so that they point naturally toward the right decision, but the decision that all the properly ordered facts point to is not necessarily the one you want. .. Gordon's great insight was to design a program which allowed you to specify in advance what decision you wished it to reach, and only then to give it the facts. The program's task, which it was able to do with consummate ease, was simple to construct a plausible series of logical-sounding steps to connect the premises with the conclusion. Gordon was able to buy a Porsche almost immediately."

You may say that black holes are the only entities that can produce the chirp that was seen by LIGO, but in saying this you are relying on a theoretical framework (general relativity, GR) that has been falsified in thousands and thousands of cases (at very low accelerations, not at high ones where it is supported by Gravity Probe B). This may come as a surprise since GR is supposed to be the highest creation of the human intellect, but it was falsified in the 1930s and then again in the 1970s by galaxy rotations - low acceleration phenomena very far from our normal experience. GR failed to predict any galaxy's rotation speed, badly, and galaxies are a pretty huge chunk of the universe not to predict (almost all of its matter!). The old theoretical framework has been patched up by the addition, where needed, of a huge amount of invisible (dark) matter, but this is an arbitrary addition, a fudge. It means that GR still cannot predict any galaxy's rotation from directly-observed quantities. You have to observe both the visible matter, the lit stars, then the rotation of the stars (the answer), and then add the dark matter distribution by computer so that GR can predict the right answer - Gordon's program is post-dicting the facts that are needed to make GR right. This goes unchallenged because it is an unfalsifiable prediction because dark matter is invisible, so Gordon is still buying Porsches.

Please note that, forgetting far off black holes for a minute the LIGO team still have discovered a real and very interesting effect, but it is the connection of that to a specific unfalsifiable scenario (two merging black holes) that I believe is unscientific and stops healthy debate. This is due to an unfortunate blind spot that the mainstream has, caused by the over-use of computer programs and it is serious perverting the progress of science. Note that in quantised inertia, a new framework that I am proposing, all the inputs are observed parameters, so Gordon's program is powerless.

Friday 22 September 2017

Horizon Drive 1.1

The best option now, both in order to convince people, and to get to applications and change the world, is to work out how to unambiguously demonstrate quantised inertia in the lab. Since experiments are already underway I have to somehow tread the fine line of talking about how this might be done so that other experimenters can join in, with their own practical insights, but not give the game away for people who are already doing these experiments. So wish me good luck with that!

As most of you know by now, quantised inertia (QI) attributes the property of inertia to a mechanism involving Unruh radiation: a radiation seen only by an accelerating object. The Unruh wavelength seen shortens as acceleration increases. The way to reveal QI in the lab is to accelerate something so fast that the Unruh waves it sees shorten so they can be controlled by our technology. The wavelength of Unruh waves seen by a body with acceleration 'a' is L=8c^2/a, so for an apple falling on someone's head the acceleration is 9.8 m/s^2 and the waves are a light year long. No wonder Newton didn't spot them. Visible Unruh waves would need an acceleration of around 10^24 m/s^2.

Most objects are too heavy to be accelerated that much, but light is an exception, being, well, light! Light going round a desktop fibre-optic loop would produce Unruh waves of a few decimetres length that may be damp-able by metal plates. Just as in the Casimir effect when quantum fields are damped between parallel metal plates, similarly here, a metal plate placed on one side of the light-loop should damp the Unruh field on that side. The other side will be undamped so just as the Casimir plates are pushed together by the loss of the fields between them, so the light-loop here will be pushed to one side, just as a boat is pushed to one side when more water waves hit it from one side than the other (see the references below for discussions).

I have done my usual back-of-the-envelope calculations, and the force you get out will depend on the efficiency of damping, but for complete damping would be of the order F ~ PQ/c where P is the power input, Q is the quality factor of the system constraining the light (eg: the loop), and c is the speed of light. The emdrive is similar to this, but uses contained microwaves instead, and quantised inertia predicts it quite well. There are still many unresolved questions. Can we damp Unruh waves with metal plates? (the agreement between QI and the emdrive data suggests 'yes'). But, let the discussion begin. As for learning a language, the best way to make progress is to try to apply it. Nature may first laugh, but if we pay attention it will eventually co-operate.

References (see the discussion section of these papers)

McCulloch, M.E., 2008. Can the flyby anomalies be explained by a modification of inertia? J. British Interplanetary Soc., 61, 373. Preprint

McCulloch, M.E., 2013. Inertia from an asymmetric Casimir effect. EPL, 101, 59001. Preprint

Friday 15 September 2017

Evidence and Applications

I'm back! Sorry for the gap in blogs, but it was a natural time to pause. In my opinion I have now provided enough evidence that physicists should be excited about quantised inertia. Also I've reached the stage where I need to develop more collaborations with galaxy modellers and lab experimenters (some are already in place). So, here is an attempt to convince others to join in:


We're all familiar with the idea of inertia, that objects in deep space once pushed keep going, but no-one has ever explained why it happens. Quantised inertia explains it for the first time by saying that if an object accelerates one way, then relativity makes a horizon appear in the other direction since information finds it harder to get to the object from that direction. This horizon damps the quantum vacuum (Unruh radiation) on that side of the object, causing a net push by radiation from the other side. This predicts inertia very well (see the 1st reference). Note that this is an elegant collaboration between relativity and quantum mechanics, and is amusing because for over 100 years people have assumed that relativity doesn't talk to quantum mechanics, and here they are cheekily in cahoots behind the scenes.


So where's the proof? Over the last ten years I have published 20 peer-reviewed papers on the theory including various bits of evidence. The most important piece of evidence is that quantised inertia predicts the rotation of galaxies without dark matter and without any adjustment (See the 2nd reference). It even predicts the behaviour of galaxies in the early universe, a part of the cosmos that no other theory can reach. It also predicts myriad interesting anomalies including the flyby anomaly, the cosmic acceleration, the low-l CMB anomaly, the Tajmar effect and the emdrive.


So how can we utilise quantised inertia? The most dramatic possibility is in the horizon drive (of which the emdrive is a weak example). The idea is simple. We can use the same trick that nature uses to produce inertia. Instead of relying on relativity to make horizons when objects accelerate away, instead make an object which makes its own horizon. Then we will have a fuel-less propulsion system. Where is the energy coming from? It is coming from Heisenberg's uncertainty principle dp.dx~hbar. Make an artificial horizon and you reduce the uncertainty in position, dx, so dp, new momentum and energy, appear (see the 3rd reference below). There is already evidence for the horizon drive since quantised inertia predicts the emdrive.


As you can see the evidence and applications for quantised inertia are coming together nicely now. The evidence for quantised inertia makes the horizon drive, which would open the galaxy to us, more than a speculation, and this application surely makes it worthwhile to look into the theory (which is admittedly still incomplete, please help!). The references below represent my most up to date summaries of the theory and the evidence.


McCulloch, M.E., 2013. Inertia from an asymmetric Casimir effect. EPL, 101, 59001. Link
McCulloch, M.E., 2017. Galaxy rotation from quantised inertia and visible matter only. Astrophys. & Space Sci., 362,149. Link
McCulloch, M.E., 2016. Quantised inertia from relativity & the uncertainty principle, EPL, 115, 69001. Link

Friday 7 July 2017

QI and Emdrive: dc/dt=0.

I've had some complaints that my explanation for the emdrive violates a central tenet of special relativity: that the speed of light cannot change. Well, there were reasons not to be worried so much about that, but as it happens I've just published a paper in EPL that shows that the results I derived in 2016 do not imply a speed of light change in the cavity anyway. The new derivation is based on an insight I had one night when I was walking into the local TESCOs (not too often associated with scientific inspiration, but times change): what quantised inertia says is that more Unruh waves (assumed to cause inertia) can exist at the wide end of the cavity, and this simply shifts the centre of inertial mass of the input microwaves continually towards the wide end of the cavity. The cavity then has to move the opposite way, towards its narrow end. This more simply reproduced the same results I had before, but without the need for a change in light speed, so there is no possibility of relativistic violation.

In this new paper I also investigate what happens when you put a dielectric in the cavity. Dielectrics are insulators, so electrons do not move through them freely, but the electrons can shift slightly. So, like people in unions, who can organise to resist forces from above, the electrons can re-arrange en-masse to create a counter field to resist an applied electric field. Air is a dielectric, so are glass and all plastics. Dielectrics really do reduce the speed of light in a way that is well accepted, and since the frequency of light stays the same, the wavelength of the light has to shorten and this means that the Unruh waves can also be expected to shorten in the dielectric, meaning that more of them fit into the cavity at the end with the dielectric.

So, according to quantised inertia, adding a dielectric to a cavity end is rather like widening that end. If you add a dielectric to the wide end you can expect an enhanced emdrive thrust since it boosts the existing surplus of Unruh waves there. Conversely, if you add a dielectric to the narrow end, it should reduce the thrust since it reduces the effective 'taper'. As you can see in the paper, the best-documented NASA tests all used dielectrics, and considering them in the theory improves the predictions of QI considerably. Unfortunately for the first Shawyer test it worsens the prediction considerably, such that the thrust is now equal but opposite to that observed. The observed and predicted emdrive thrusts are shown in this table:


McCulloch, M.E., 2017. Testing quantised inertia on emdrives with dielectrics. EPL, Vol. 118, 34003. Journal paper, now open access! Full text also here.

Friday 23 June 2017

Evidence from an early galaxy

The best way to move forward in science is to find specific anomalies, with numbers attached to them, that theories can be tested against, and this morning I'm very grateful to Frank Becker and John Dorman who tweeted to me about an exciting paper just published in Nature. I say it is exciting, but it's hidden behind a paywall. However, from what I can see from other sources the authors (see references below) have managed to look in detail at a very early galaxy, cleverly using gravitational lensing: using a foreground galaxy which bends the light from a galaxy far distant (and way in the past) in such a way that it magnifies the background image. Thus they have inspected an ancient galaxy at a redshift of Z=2.1478, ten billion years ago when the cosmos was only one third its present size. The only other details I have are that it is half the radius of the Milky Way and has a rotation rate at its edge of 350+/-150 km/s (error bars taken from their Fig. 2). They note that this is very odd and unexpected, why is it spinning so fast! Quantised inertia can explain it.

Quantised inertia predicts that there is a minimum acceleration in the cosmos, given by 2c^2/T, where c is the speed of light and T is the co-moving cosmic diameter. In the far distant past, at a redshift of 2.1478 when the universe was about a third the size it is today, T would be a third the size, so the minimum acceleration should have been three times what it is today. So quantised inertia forces ancient galaxies to spin fast. Do the numbers agree then?

To check this at first order all you have to do is say that the acceleration of this ancient galaxy at its edge (where it is slowest) must be above the QI minimum of 2c^2/T and since acceleration is given by v^2/r where r is the radius, we get v^2/r > 2c^2/T and so v=sqrt(2c^2r/T). If we take the very crude estimates in the secondary sources that this galaxy is half the radius of the Milky Way, then QI predicts a speed of v=538+/-75 km/s which agrees with the observed speed (given the error bars). Admittedly I haven't even read the paper yet (as I said, I can't access it for free), but high redshift data is providing great evidence for quantised inertia, because quantised inertia, alone among theories, predicts a specific change in dynamics with cosmic time and it is just now becoming possible with studies like this one, to check this out. I have been trying to publish a paper on this and it has been rejected six times but is now undergoing a more positive review at ApSS. The paper uses six other early galaxies, which also spin fast in agreement with QI. So thank goodness for the finite speed of light since it makes a very useful time portal out of the night sky.

"What seest thou else in the dark backward and abysm of time?" - Shakespeare, The Tempest.

PS: I now have a copy of the paper. Thank you to those kind folks who sent one.


Sune Toft, Johannes Zabl, Johan Richard, Anna Gallazzi, Stefano Zibetti, Moire Prescott, Claudio Grillo, Allison W. S. Man, Nicholas Y. Lee, Carlos Gómez-Guijarro, Mikkel Stockmann, Georgios Magdis, Charles L. Steinhardt. A massive, dead disk galaxy in the early Universe. Nature, 2017; 546 (7659): 510. https://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v546/n7659/full/nature22388.html

Wednesday 14 June 2017

Funny Business at the ArXiv

Once, in childhood, I was playing one of my best friends at chess, and on this occasion I won. After a minute my friend reached over and cheekily pushed over my king. Of course, this was only a couple of kids playing a friendly game, and this fellow is still a great friend of mine, but I feel that some parts of physics are acting the same way.

This was brought home to me last month. For the third time, the arXiv, a freely-available central library for physicists, deleted my submission of my peer-reviewed and accepted paper (on quantised inertia and the emdrive). They say it is similar to a previous one I submitted, but it is a significant advance on that paper, otherwise the journal, which is a good one and which published the other one as well, would not have accepted it as a new paper. I've had a long running battle with the physics arXiv (this section of the arxiv has anonymous and therefore unaccountable referees, not good scientific practice). They refused to take any of my published papers between 2013 and 2015, and since 2015 they have shifted them from the section on astrophysics, where I need to post to get the attention of astrophysicists, to the section on general physics (a section for work they perceive as 'fringe') that virtually no-one looks at. This is censorship without a solid stated reason.

Crying 'Fringe' or 'Fake News' is not enough, evidence must always be provided, otherwise it is easy for aggressive people to control events to protect their power or funding streams. The only way to destroy this control is to say: "What is your evidence for that?". I have asked the arXiv for their reason many times, they told me to stop asking. Evidence is the light and I always test against evidence in my papers, whereas physicists working on dark matter, string theory or black holes do not. This is no small matter. It is the difference between science and the fluff they had in the middle ages. I can cite some evidence for this contempt of evidence in the mainstream. David Meritt (see ref below) recently showed that most cosmology books published since 2004 do not mention that dark matter has not been found. They do not now even mention the evidence that they have no evidence.

The frustration is that I have lots of evidence that quantised inertia is the best theory available (I have published 18 papers now). QI simply predicts all galaxy rotations, even at high redshift, the low-l CMB anomaly, cosmic acceleration, the flyby anomalies, the Tajmar effect, the emdrive, and many other things. It combines relativity and quantum mechanics and thereby explains inertial mass for the first time. The only difficulty is getting a fair hearing. Thank goodness for journal peer-review and also Research Gate which has no anonymous censorship. The arXiv can be a great asset for physics and I once loved it, I have accessed many papers there, it is free, but the physics section is now clearly biased in this way. I think it is essential that to ensure decisions are made on a scientific basis, it should at least accept everything that is published in a proper journal. Let proper journal peer reviewers decide, not the anonymous.


Merritt, David, 2017. Cosmology and convention. Studies in History and Philosophy of science, 57, 41-52. https://arxiv.org/abs/1703.02389

Friday 9 June 2017

Announcing: the New Physics channel

So many television programmes are made about dark matter, black holes and string theory using computers to hide with fancy graphics what they completely lack in solid evidence. I don't have access to fancy graphics but I have made a powerpoint video based on my recent seminar at Exeter University. It explains how quantised inertia predicts galaxies without dark matter, and the emdrive thrusts as well. I hope it is at least clear:

Please do give me constructive feedback on this video, and tell me what you'd like to hear about, and I will try and produce some more of them.

Wednesday 31 May 2017

Opinion on the UK Election

Apologies, but I cannot help but write something about the election since I am excited by the possibility that Jeremy Corbyn might get into No. 10. There has been since 1979 a huge increase in inequality in the UK. The Gini coeffient that measures inequality has risen from 0.23 in 1979 (the value egalitarian Norway now has) to about 0.4 now (close to the US) and the UK has become a less kind country with more homeless and foodbanks, where assets that everybody used to own collectively (Royal Mail, NHS) are being sold to the rich.

The only solution is to put someone in No. 10 who will listen to ordinary people and not corporations, and will not sell out. In its empirical wisdom, that is what the British democratic system has produced in the form of Jeremy Corbyn, who has stood by his present democratic socialist views consistently for 40 years.

It is very important in my view that, as Labour now propose, the essentials of life: NHS, railways, utilities, post office are owned in common, as they were after WW2. If not, the processes of the game of monopoly take over, capital concentrates in a few hands, and we will all be dependent on the super-rich for the essentials, and they'll raise the price to the maximum. It is also essential to avoid burdening students with debt, so when they graduate they can chose to work on their dreams, rather than aim to get rich quick to pay off their debt. Labour promise to end tuition fees. This, and the increased equality, should produce a more fulfilled and creative society. Hopefully also the general atmosphere will become less money-driven: for example it is also important that scientists are not judged on the amount of funding they bring in, so they will make decisions based on what is scientifically interesting rather than what brings in easy funding (eg: safe topics or expensive equipment).

President Roosevelt's 1944 GI Bill in the US (free college) and the 1948 Labour victory in the UK when the NHS and welfare state were formed, produced a secure and well-educated generation and it is interesting that the GI Bill in the US was followed by its so-called 'greatest generation' (Moon landings, Dylan, Woodward & Bernstein). In contrast high inequality makes a nation weak since the poor become too poor to create, and the rich hide their money away so the economy shrinks. This is why over the millennia there has been a slow tendency away from rule by the rich (the Tory way) and towards democracy and socialism (Labour). Compare for example Ancient Egypt with modern states.

Two of my favourite parts of Star Trek are in The Voyage Home when Dr McCoy goes from the 23rd century back to the 20th Century and regrows a woman's kidney saying "Kidney dialysis? My God, what is this, the dark ages?", and in First Contact when Picard says there is no money in the future. The future can be better, but more advanced technology is not enough. The social system also needs to advance. Electing Corbyn would be a great step towards that. Please vote Labour.


Star Trek IV: Kidney Dialysis: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UtllgbUiTt0

Thursday 11 May 2017

Emdrives and dielectrics

I am giving a seminar tomorrow to the Plymouth Astronomical Society, so here is a summary of the talk which is humbly titled: "How to predict the impossible". The impossible in this case is of course the emdrive, a truncated cone-shaped microwave oven that seems to move very, very slightly towards its narrow end as the microwaves resonate within it. This is causing a lot of incredulity in physics, since humanity has never before encountered a system that is able to move itself in one direction without apparently expelling reaction mass in the other direction. The usual rule is called the conservation of momentum and is a very well tested. The emdrive anomaly was first discovered by Roger Shawyer and has recently been reproduced by others, including NASA's Eagleworks Lab.

For many years I have been proposing a theory called quantised inertia, that states that the property of inertia (that which makes it hard to stop walking into lamp-posts) is caused by relativistic horizons damping the quantum vacuum. When you accelerate in one direction two things happen 1) the waves of the quantum vacuum that you see get shorter (Unruh radiation) and 2) a horizon (like a black hole horizon) appears in the opposite direction that damps those waves. Quantised inertia states that the resulting asymmetry in the quantum vacuum pulls you back against the initial acceleration and so it predicts inertia for the first time, but also predicts a new loss of inertia when accelerations are so low that the Unruh waves get damped symmetrically by the cosmic horizon, so it also predicts galaxy rotation, and its change with time, perfectly without dark matter.

How about the impossible emdrive then? Well, it is an asymmetrical cavity, so the idea is that in the narrow end the microwave photons lose some inertia because the Unruh waves don't fit so well (just like galactic edge stars lose inertia because the Unruh waves they see don't fit well inside the cosmic horizon, and so feel less centrifugal force). As a result the emdrive photons gain inertia every time they shuttle towards the wide end, and to conserve momentum the cavity has to move towards its narrow end. Quantised inertia predicts the emdrive thrust data quite well, as I showed in a previous paper. Further, quantised inertia predicts that if you happen to put a dielectric in the wide end, this will shorten the Unruh waves, so more will fit and the gain of inertia from the narrow to the wide end will be enhanced and the cavity will accelerate more. Considering the dielectrics too, quantised inertia predicts the emdrive thrusts extremely well. The Figure below shows the observed thrust on the y axis and the thrusts predicted by quantised inertia on the x-axis, both without considering the dielectrics (white squares) and considering the dielectrics (black diamonds).

The diagonal line marks perfect theory-data agreement. The effect of the dielectrics can be seen most clearly for the tests marked 'NASA2016' (the four white squares, lower centre) where quantised inertia over-predicted the thrusts (the values ideally should be on the diagonal line) until I noticed that NASA put dielectrics in the narrow end of the cavity, thus inadvertently reducing the thrust. When this is considered in quantised inertia, the white squares shift left to become the black diamonds, close to the diagonal line. It can also be seen for Shawyer1, who put a dielectric in the wide end, thus boosting the thrust (top right). This dielectric dependence is a good confirmation of quantised inertia.

Applications of this are to be found in any form of terrestrial of space transport, and one advantage of the explanation from quantised inertia is that it suggests that dielectrics can be used to enhance the effect, which has been too small to be useful as yet. My latest paper on this is just about to appear in EPL (see the reference below).

To change the subject for a bit, it would be fascinating to go to another star in a human lifetime, but for that you need to travel close to the speed of light so that relativistic time dilation gives you an Einsteinian version of suspended animation. For example, if you accelerate at 9.8 m/s^2 for one year, travel at 90% the speed of light (c) for 10 years and then decelerate for one year at 9.8 m/s^2 you could make the 25 light-year trip to Gliese 667 in 12 years (the duration for those on the ship). Unfortunately, although theoretically possible, engineering gets in the way. To get a habitable normal spaceship to 90% of c you would need more energy than can be produced by our civilisation, or as much fuel as a small planet. The emdrive, though, as quantised inertia suggests, uses 'nothing' as its fuel and nothing is readily available everywhere in space (of course, a power source would need to be included).


McCulloch, M.E., 2017. Testing quantised inertia on emdrives with dielectrics. EPL.. Preprint

Sunday 30 April 2017

What is an electron?

What is an electron? This is the title of a jem of an article written in Wireless World back in 1979 by Prof Roger C. Jennison (see references). Someone sent me the pdf a year or so ago and I have been dipping into it from time to time, increasingly excited and amazed by it.

Roger Jennison made the fascinating point that electrons look very much like photons locked in a self made trap (somehow). For example, when an electron and a positron collide, they annihilate cleanly and out come two oppositely-polarised photons. Also, if you fire photons of slowly-decreasing wavelength at the vicinity of something like a heavy nucleus, suddenly, when the photon wavelength reaches 2.4x10^-12 metres, out comes a positron and an electron (pair production). Why this particular wavelength? See below!

The obvious conclusion is that electrons are made of photons and Jennison took this further by modelling an electron as a photon trapped in a cavity, as shown in the schematic below.

Imagine the photon bounces around inside (the blue waves) pushing the cavity plates (black lines) outwards, and you charge the plates positively and negatively so they attract electrostatically to balance the outward push. This is now a stable, static system.

Now imagine you push the cavity externally from the left to the right (black arrow). Now the photon that is just bouncing off the left wall (the light blue wave) is given more energy by the wall pushing it, and the super-energetic wave then pushes the right wall, so it moves too. As the photon bounces back (dark blue wave) it has lost energy so it has less energy when it gets back to the left hand wall and so pulls that wall rightwards. Now if you take away the initial push, this process continues so that the cavity continues to move rightwards, and so this predicts inertia: the cavity keeps going at constant speed unless pushed on. Jennison's model predicts a lot of other photon properties as well, for example its half classical spin, and it predicts a new effect: changes in speed occur in discrete jumps and that when you use photons of wavelength 2.4x10^-12m then the size of the jumps is Planck's constant, which may explain why that wavelength is crucial.

The model is not complete however, because it is unclear what the cavity walls are made of. They're not likely to be made of a conductive shell. The new point I'd like to make is that quantised inertia might be able to answer this: the cavity walls might be the relativistic horizons seen by the photon as it orbits. For objects like photons (if they are objects) an acceleration towards a centre causes the creation of a cylindrical relativistic horizon, from the electrons' point of view, rather like a wall outside the orbit. Could this complete Jennison's electron model? This also makes me think of course of the origin of other particles (higher modes?), the emdrive cavity and also ball lightning..


Thanks to Michael C. Fidler who sent me the Jennison paper last year, and to John Dorman and others for online discussions on this matter.


Jennison, R.C., 1979. What is a electron? Wireless World, June (Link to pdf, thanks to Tom Short).

Wednesday 19 April 2017

Quantised Inertia from Fundamentals

The uncertainty principle of Heisenberg is usually written as dp.dx~hbar and it says that the uncertainty in momentum of a quantum object (dp) times its uncertainty in position (dx) is always a constant (hbar). If a quantum object knows well where it is (dx=small), then it loses the ability to know its speed (dp=big). Conversely, if it knows its speed very well (dp=small), it'll be lost in space (dx=big). This relation from quantum mechanics, and special relativity also, are two clues that physics is due to be reworked around the concept of information. This is what quantised inertia does, joining these two pillars of physics (QM and relativity) on the large scale.

Imagine a red mass (see diagram, top part, red circle). Suddenly you put another mass on the left of it (the black circle). The uncertainty of position of the red mass is shown by the black quadrilateral around it. The red mass can see a large amount of empty space up, down and rightwards (forgetting directions perpendicular to the page for now) so its uncertainty in position (dx) is large in those directions because it cannot position itself well in empty space. However, it can see less far into space to the left because the other mass blocks its view, so its uncertainty of position that way (dx) is lower. The quadrilateral represents dx in each direction. It is skewed outwards to the up, down and right where dx is large, and skewed in to the left where dx is small. Therefore, according to Heisenberg, the quadrilateral showing the uncertainty in momentum has to be the opposite: skewed out to the left and skewed in for the other directions (see the blue envelope). Since momentum involves speed, this predicts that it is statistically or quantum mechanically more likely that the object will move to the left. In a formal derivation I have shown this not only looks like gravity but predicts it (see reference below).

Now, as the red object approaches the black one (see lower panel) its uncertainty in position (dx) to the left gets ever smaller, so dp must increase and the red object must accelerate. "Aha!" Says the other great fundamental pillar of physics: relativity, "I now become relevant!". Since the red object is now accelerating away from the space to the right, information from far to the right cannot get to old Red, and a horizon forms (the black line) beyond which is unknowable space for Red. This Rindler horizon is like the black mass. It blocks Red's view and so Red's uncertainty in position to the right reduces (dx, see the black quadrilateral contract from the right) and so the uncertainty in momentum to the right increases (see the blue quadrilateral now extends further to the right). Red now has a chance of moving both left and right and this has the effect of cancelling some of its initial acceleration towards the black mass. This looks like inertia, and indeed it predicts quantised inertia (see reference below).

In this way, you can derive something that looks like quantised inertia (if you consider also the cosmic horizon) and gravity, just by allowing quantum mechanics and relativity to mix at large scales. The whole package could be called horizon mechanics. The word 'horizon' from relativity, the 'mechanics' from the quantum side. As a happy side effect, quantised inertia or horizon mechanics solves a lot of problems in physics that you may have heard of: it explains cosmic acceleration, predicts galaxy rotation without dark matter, and its redshift dependence, and predicts the emdrive. These successes should not be sneezed at, representing 96% of the cosmos, and with the emdrive practically offering a new kind of propulsion. Oddly enough, for a theory intended to replace general relativity, the behaviour I have just described looks quite tensor-ish..


McCulloch, M.E., 2016. Quantised inertia from relativity & the uncertainty principle, EPL, 115, 69001. ResearchGate preprintarXiv preprint

Wednesday 12 April 2017

Easter Thank Yous

Rather than criticising theorists that in my opinion are doing things wrong, which is negative, exhausting and would take far too long :) it is more positive to thank those that I admire and who have inspired me in some technical way. I started this list a while ago and neglected to publish it. I have recently added to it, so here it is:

First of all: John Anderson, the co-discoverer of various spacecraft anomalies and more recently periodic variations in big G, without which I would have had far fewer anomalies to get me interested. I love his style because he publishes carefully analysed anomalous data and honestly points out that 'this is unexplained'. This is rare, and is a gift for a data-driven theorist like me.

Although the influence is not direct, I cannot not mention Stephen Fulling, Paul Davies, Bill Unruh and Stephen Hawking (with help from Zeldovitch, Starobinksy & Bekenstein). The discoverers of Hawking-Unruh radiation, without whom Quantised Inertia (QI) / MiHsC would not be possible.

Haisch, Rueda and Puthoff who in 1994 proposed the first model (stochastic electrodynamics) for how inertial mass might be caused by the zero point field (paper), a model that thrilled me when I first read it on a long train journey, like a chink of light would thrill someone lost in a cave. Later I decided it was the way to go, but wrong (it needs a arbitrary cutoff) and this inspired me towards QI/MiHsC and an asymmetric Casimir effect (aCe) which needs no cut-off. I am thrilled and honoured to now be in email contact with Hal Puthoff.

Mordehai Milgrom, who first suggested that physical laws might be wrong at low acceleration and invented MoND in 1983. Milgrom also speculated on a link between MoND and Unruh radiation but wasn't specific, and then discounted the possibility in 1999 saying Unruh radiation was isotropic so could not generate a force. Although MoND is a huge step up from dark matter, it is not as good as MiHsC because it lacks a specific model and needs a number to be input by hand (QI/MiHsC predicts this number by itself). However, Milgrom's papers on MoND were an inspiration to me, and he also kindly commented on (politely disagreed with) my first paper on MiHsC when I sent a draft to him.

Martin Tajmar who has the rare mix of being open-minded enough to test new anomalies while also being professional about it, and he brings much needed respectability to anomalous experiments. Also, like me, he is lucky enough to be married to a South Korean.

Scarpa et al. (2007) who wrote a brilliant paper on globular clusters (published at the first crisis in cosmology conference) that provided the first empirical evidence I was aware of that dark matter, which I didn't believe anyway, was wrong. The data also shows that QI/MiHsC, which depends on local accelerations, and not MoND which depends on external ones, was the answer.

Stacy McGaugh, who I met at my first astrophysics conference on 'Alternative Gravities' in Edinburgh in 2006, and who was the only one at the workshop who seemed to consider MiHsC seriously. He has been kind enough to send me stellar data from time to time, and I hope he will actually cite me someday! He has recently also co-published important results that falsify dark matter.

Jaume Gine, with whom I published the first collaborative paper on QI/MiHsC in 2016. This joint-paper was submitted to so many journals over a couple of years that I'm grateful for both his input and perseverence. The first paper on QI/MiHsC by another person solo was also recently published by Keith Pickering, and takes a refreshingly modified approach (here). Also, Prof Jose Perez-Diaz, who came to see me last year for a few months, and I enjoyed our many discussions. He is now trying to detect QI/MiHsC using a LEMdrive arrangement.

John Dorman who wrote the first, and incisively entertaining, review of my book, a review that struck truer to home than may be apparent from outside, since I sometimes feel just like a boxer in the ring. I now have it blue-tacked on my study wall. He has been especially quick to understand the central importance of horizons and suggested a new name for the theory: 'horizon mechanics'. This name could be used in future if and when gravity is incorporated, since 'mechanics' implies a complete system.

Finally to go back in time again: I submitted my first paper on MiHsC to the prestigious journal MNRAS in 2006, and fully expected to be rejected since I'd never submitted on astrophysics before (only ocean physics up till then). The reviewer said they "didn't exactly believe MiHsC, but it was more plausible than many alternatives which had been published", so they let it pass, to my great joy. The reviewer was also amused by my use of the word 'forecast' instead of 'prediction' (I worked at the Met Office at the time). If this first paper had been rejected I may have given up.

These are only some of the inspiring folk and someday I'll make a complete list. Thanks to all. Happy Easter!

Thursday 23 March 2017

New Evidence at High Redshift

One of the unique and testable predictions of MiHsC / quantised inertia is that the dynamics of galaxies should depend on the size of the observable universe. This is because it predicts a cosmic minimum allowed acceleration of 2c^2/Cosmicscale. Why is this? Well, the Unruh waves seen by an object and that (in QI) cause its inertial mass, lengthen as the object's acceleration reduces and you can't have an acceleration that gives you Unruh waves that are too big to resonate in the cosmos. So if you imagine running the cosmos backwards, as the cosmic scale shrinks, more Unruh waves would be disallowed (as in the narrow end of the emdrive), inertial mass goes down, centrifugal forces decrease and so galaxies need faster rotation to be dynamically balanced. Therefore, QI predicts that in the past galaxies should have been forced to spin faster (everything else being equal).

Many people online alerted me to a paper that has just been published in Nature (Genzel et al., 2017) that supports this prediction. The paper looked at six massive galaxies so far away from us that we are looking at them many billions of years ago when the observable universe was much less than its present size, and, sure enough, they spin faster! To compare QI with the data, I have plotted the preliminary graph below.

It shows along the x axis the observed acceleration of these ancient galaxies, determined from Doppler measurements of their stars' orbital speed (a=v^2/r) and along the y axis the minimum acceleration predicted by quantised inertia (a=2c^2/cosmicscale). The QI vs observation comparison for the six galaxies is shown by the black squares and the numbers next to them show the redshift of each galaxy. The redshift (denoted Z) is a measurement of distance. Erwin Hubble found that the further away galaxies are from us, the faster they are receding from us, and so their light is stretched in a Doppler sense and is redshifted. So redshift is proportional to distance. The redshifts of the galaxies in this study ranged from Z=0.854, bottom left in the plot, at which the cosmos was 54% its present size to Z = 2.383, centre right, for which the cosmos was pretty cramped at 30% its present size (the formula for the size of the cosmos at redshift Z is SizeThen=SizeNow/(1+Z).

Quantised inertia predicts clearly that the acceleration increases with redshift, just as observed. The diagonal line shows where the points should lie if agreement was exact. Although the points are slightly above the line this is not a huge worry since the data is so uncertain. The uncertainty in the observed acceleration is probably something like 40% (looking at the scatter plots in Genzel et al. I've assumed a 20% error in the velocities they measured, and a=v^2/r). I have not plotted error bars yet because it'll take time to work out properly what they are. The two highest redshift galaxies are obviously quite aberrant, and this shows that the data is not yet good enough to be conclusive.

So in a preliminary way, and error-bars pending, the graph shows that QI predicts the newly-observed increase in galaxy rotation in the distant past. Given the uncertainties, more data is urgently needed to confirm this. As far as I know, quantised inertia is the only theory that predicted this observed behaviour.


Genzel et al., 2017. Nature, 543, 397–401 (16 March 2017) http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v543/n7645/abs/nature21685.html

Wednesday 22 March 2017


Once upon a long time ago there was a land called Plutophysia and it was ruled by General R. Tivity. The General, in his salad days, had developed quite a reputation for predicting the weather, and indeed for some phenomena he had skill. When he had said "Today it will rain!" it always did. When he said "Go to the beach" everyone went.

Then one day a strange apparition appeared: a vast swirling column of wind and dust which knocked down a grain silo. The country folk came to the General and described the phenomenon. The General, with perfect confidence said
"Ah yes. It is caused by an invisible wind God: a Chindi!"
and he directed his scientists to look for these wind Gods. Egon, the lead scientist scratched his head, and then other parts of his body, as he tried to think. Nothing occurred to him. Eventually, some leaders of industry came to him and said
"We have a machine that can detect wind Gods, but it is very expensive".
"Never mind!" said Egon "I have the General's ear!"
"Having his purse would be better.." said the industrialists.
"The two are connected" said Egon and sure enough before long there was a fine industry building machines to detect the Wind Gods. This went on for some time, because invisible wind Gods are difficult to detect.

After several decades of waiting, the folk of Plutophysia became fed up since many farms had been torn apart by the phenomena. They were also tired of hearing the words 'wind God', and the scientists and industrialists were getting so fat that they had to carry them around in wheelbarrows. One day an unimpressive scruff from The Shire was brought in to see the old General and said
"General, I can predict these swirls of wind! They are caused by heating of air near the ground which rises".
The General said "What is this idiot babbling about? What are heat and air?".
But the scruff insisted
"I can predict they all occur at the hottest times. I have the data to prove it! Furthermore we can make flying machines based on this idea and move away to a better place..".
The General said "Enough!" and looked to his industrial advisors and top scientists.
"What say you to this young miscreant?".
They conferred "We would say sire that he is a dangerous lunatic and it would be best to lock him away from the general public lest your reputation for weather prediction be called into question."
The General decided quickly.
"Quite right. Guards! Put him in jail. Oh, and burn that data will you? Nasty profit-less stuff to have lying around".

Some wise people complained at this insult to free speech and scientific inquiry. Most eventually forgot about it so as not to lose their jobs in the wind-God detector machine factories. Some did not forget and also ended up in gaol. So Plutophysia spent all its money on the machines and was ruined. In the end all that was left was a huge ring of machines surrounding the broken farms, and a few old codgers living by the shattered remains of a prison, but building an air balloon..