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 27 February 2017

The Range of Quantised Inertia

I've just finished teaching my Space Exploration module at the University of Plymouth. The useful thing about teaching is that it renews knowledge and helps one to view the subject as a whole. Of course, I gave a research lecture on quantised inertia (QI) and made a useful new summary plot for it, just to show the range of anomalies or phenomena in physics that can be explained and predicted by quantised inertia, and not by standard physics. The plot below shows on the x axis the scale of the phenomenon (in a qualitative manner), from the sub-atomic proton radius anomaly on the left to the oddities at the cosmic scale on the right. The y axis shows the accelerations within the phenomena from the infinitesimal cosmic accelerations at the bottom to the emdrive full of resonating microwaves at the top. The text boxes show all the anomalies QI predicts. I have published all these agreements, apart from Proxima Centauri & the proton radius anomaly, in mainstream journals. This is not to say I can confirm all these anomalies, and some of my analyses are incomplete (eg: for the flybys), but taken together they build a very strong empirical argument for quantised inertia. What other coherent theory can do all this? None.

Poor old standard physics does not predict any of these phenomena without inventing arbitrary exotic matter and arbitrary new physics to go with it: like the awful dark matter hypothesis which has now been falsified, for example by this paper. The anomalies in the plot are not a small problem either: they represent 96% of the cosmos! QI needs only a relatively small, if fundamental, tweak to standard physics to predict them all. All you have to do is allow the horizons made by relativity to 'damp' the quantum vacuum, making inertial mass as a side product. This is very satisfying and goes some way to reuniting the bifurcation in physics produced by Einstein when he sent the subject off onto the contradictory quantum and relativistic trajectories. Most physicists prefer to add bits to existing physics rather than tweak the equations that already exist, but QI tweaks those equations very very slightly, and in a way that does not violate any data, and, as the plot shows, it predicts a lot more that way.


To see how quantised inertia explains these phenomena, follow these links to the published papers /preprints::

Emdrive, Tajmar effect, Pioneer anomaly, Flyby anomaly, dwarf galaxy rotation, galaxy/cluster rotation, cosmic acceleration, low-l CMB anomaly.

Tuesday 21 February 2017

The Data's the Thing

Actors have a saying "The play's the thing", ie: the play comes before the ego. Similarly scientist's should say: "The data's the thing". History and common sense back up the importance of data. Scientific progress has never involved playing it safe and fudging 96% of the cosmos with invisible dark stuff to preserve egos or the status quo. Progress has always come from looking at controversial new data, and thinking anew.

Quantised inertia is the result of pondering new data from the cosmic scale to the atomic, and I have had empirical success at various scales (cosmic scale, galactic scale and Solar system scale), but the lab scale is particularly useful because a desktop experiment can be easily controlled and reproduced. This is why the emdrive has caused such a furore: it is forcing people (well, some!) to question familiar physics for the first time in nearly a century. Not bad for a little copper cone. I do not discount the possibility it might still be wrong, but those who claim it is wrong have to say what it otherwise is, and not just say "it's wrong" as if they have God's phone number.

In all this it is important to keep focused on the data so here is a table of all the emdrive results so far. We have to be cautious because some of these results have been published with varying degree of peer-review (shown in bold) and some have not. I have also included a new result from 'monomorphic' on the NSF forum, so there are now 11 data points, seven of them published in conferences and one (NASA2016) in a mainstream journal.

The table gives a identifier for the experiment on the left in chronological order from top-bottom. The second column shows the thrust observed in milli-Newtons (mN). The third column shows the thrust predicted by quantised inertia (MiHsC) including the effect of dielectrics (which reduce the speed of light in the cavity). I submitted a paper on this dielectric version of quantised inertia to EPL about a month ago so I should have the reviewers' comments soon. The new 11th data point from monomorphic is shown at the bottom. His power input was 1 Watt, his Q value was 8100 and his cavity had no dielectric and was 0.24m long, and had wide and small end of diameter 0.299m and 0.178m respectively (according to his NSF posts, please correct me if I am wrong). The thrust he measured was 13 microN and quantised inertia predicts 14 microN.

Given all the data surely you have to agree that quantised inertia predicts pretty well for a theory that can not be adjusted and is still an approximation. It ideally needs a computer model, like COMSOL, to do it justice, because my usual technique of scribbling maths on bits of paper is unable to capture em-modes and their complex interaction with horizons.

It would be useful to compare the predictability of quantised inertia with that of the other emdrive theories by looking at some ratio of how accurately they predict the data, over the number of arbitrary parameters they need to do it, but I have not seen any comparison plots showing observations and calculations from the other theories (I may have missed them). If the Plymouth-Emdrive workshop gets off the ground, I will make sure it is empirical. Ernest Hemingway once said: "If a writer stops observing, then they are finished". I think the same thing goes for physicists.

Saturday 18 February 2017

My response to the Forbes article

A few days ago an article appeared in Forbes magazine directly criticising me and quantised inertia. I understand that after working for decades on dark matter, many find quantised inertia difficult to accept. I do hope to persuade them slowly, but a debate should be based on empirical evidence and this article did not present any. It also misexplained quantised inertia, and vaguely attacked my attitude, so I need to answer it.

For example, the article accuses me of not addressing criticism, but all the comments I have received from the mainstream say I am violating a theory that only predicts 4% of the cosmos (in some sense). What exam can you pass with a mark of 4%? What matters to me is whether I am violating empirical data. No-one has shown that. It is true that I need to show how quantised inertia might fit together with general relativity, but that is a far lower priority than comparison with data, and to compare QI with GR some communication between me and general relativists needs to begin, but it has been cut off, and not by me. I haven't been accepted at a physics conference since 2012 and most physicists have refused my attempts to engage by email.

The article claims I am on some sort of mad slide into pseudoscience, but if you look at the facts: in every one of my 17 published papers I have tested quantised inertia against real data, and it worked without adjustment. In contrast there has never been any direct evidence for the dark matter the mainstream believe in, and the hypothesis is nothing but adjustment. So you have to conclude that it is the dark matterists who have been on the slide into pseudoscience for decades and the only reason they haven't noticed is they are all happily going down together, so self-correction has become impossible.

The article claims that Unruh radiation is so small it is incapable of generating an inertial force, but the author has not understood my papers: I have shown quite simply that when it is made non-uniform in space by relativistic horizons, Unruh radiation does produce the right amount of force. Please see this paper: preprint and a later one where Dr Jaume Gine corrected an error I made to give better results: journal.

The emdrive thrust (which QI predicts) is not "within the noise" as the article claims. The NASA emdrive paper went through five reviewers before being published. Of course, they and all of us may have missed some mundane effect we don't know about yet, but to suggest that all five reviewers do not know noise when they see it is implausible. Noise does not usually pass peer review.

The article says “How strongly verified [mainstream] theories are”. I have received such comments from many reviewers, especially recently, and I can never understand how this can be said with a straight face: mainstream theories predict only 4% of what we see. If that is 'strongly verified' than those words must be in a different language.

The article claims “This hodge-podge is misapplied”. How easy it is to say something like that, but what data proves it is misapplied? It is not enough just to say it and hope that people won't bother to think. Words must be supported by data, but there is no supporting empirical evidence anywhere in the article.

The article says QI “Overturns basic/established physics”. Well, I realise the difficulty of doing it, and do not take it lightly, but it is absolutely fine to modify fundamental physics so long as experiments are still satisfied, and they are. Quantised inertia has only a tiny effect in normal regimes, but it changes things in very low acceleration regimes, which is exactly where normal physics fails. It allows us to predict not 4% of nature, but much closer to all of it, offering an explanation for anomalies at low accelerations such as galaxy rotation and cosmic acceleration. Basic physics is self-contradictory anyway. We know its two halves (GR and quantum mechanics) do not fit together either formally, or causally with Bell test experiments. Quantised inertia allows us to fit it together a little more since the whole point of it is that relativity and quantum mechanics work together to make inertia.

Towards the end, the article bizarrely seems to accuse quantised inertia of being too successful, since it explains so much. First of all, since when is empirical success a crime? That is taking scepticism too far, and that does no-one any good. Also, the reason QI fits these anomalies, as well as the standard data, is because I designed it after looking at new data with an open mind. In my opinion, and I think history shows, that is exactly the right way to advance science and it is what the dark matterists have forgotten.

Quantised inertia is far from complete. It is an approximation to a full theory that I do not have yet. I need the help of other physicists and their great skills to look for the phenomena it predicts (see here) and flesh out the theory. The problem I have is the excruciating one of trying to persuade extremely well-educated and driven people, that I have no desire to antagonise at all, that they are wrong in this one matter, and enlisting their help (which I need) at the same time! If they wanted evidence for my lunacy then they could cite my hopeless optimism in this social respect.

My crucial point remains empirical: quantised inertia agrees with the data more simply than MoND or dark matter (see here for example). There is no way to get away from that fact. They can claim I'm a lunatic with delusions of gradeur (maybe I am, it is not for me to say) but after it all the mass of data that support quantised inertia will not go away, and in the end it will save all of us.


The Forbes aticle:  http://www.forbes.com/sites/briankoberlein/2017/02/15/quantized-inertia-dark-matter-the-emdrive-and-how-to-do-science-wrong/#29792c8617f9

Sunday 12 February 2017

Dwarfs as a crucial test

My latest paper has just been accepted by the journal Astrophysics and Space Science (journal website) and I have already posted a preprint on Research Gate here. I will also post it on arXiv, but the arXiv have demoted me to the general physics section so I get very few reads from arXiv anyway. In a previous paper (McCulloch, 2012, see references below) and a new paper I have been submitting to various journals with no luck so far, I have shown that quantised inertia (QI, MiHsC) predicts the rotation of dwarf galaxies, spiral galaxies and galaxy clusters without dark matter or adjustment, but in this accepted paper, in a sudden bout of strategic thinking, I deliberately selected more extreme objects that other models cannot predict well, or at least not without becoming ridiculous.

These objects are the Milky Way dwarf galaxies: about 20 tiny galaxies orbiting close to the Milky Way. They have very little mass and so the accelerations of the stars within them are tiny, and the effect of quantised inertia should be more obvious, and indeed they show huge anomalies. The Figure below plots data from 11 of these systems (those for which data on masses and speed is available) against their visible mass in Solar masses (on the x axis) and the spin velocity of their stars (y axis). The observed speeds are shown by the open squares, their names are also shown, and the errors in the speeds are shown by the vertical bars.

Given the visible mass in them, good old Newton would have predicted that the maximum speed the stars might achieve without breaking free should be the speed shown by the small crosses at the bottom of the plot. Newton would look at this data and say: "Bah! They should fly asunder! I shall have another crack at that." The dwarfs obviously don't fly apart since they look more or less round, so to make it all work out astrophysicists who don't wish to change the old theories (GR predicts similarly) add just enough invisible dark matter to these systems to hold them in. The trouble is that in these dwarf cases they have to add the dark stuff in amounts that make the actual laws of normal physics pretty irrelevant (amounts of dark mass several hundred times the amount of visible matter) so these systems are governed mostly by convenient dark 'magic'.

MoND is far more specific than dark matter, so it is a better hypothesis, but MoND also has the problem that it needs a 'little bit' of magic: an adjustable parameter which is set by trial and error to 'make' its predictions fit the data. Adjustable parameters are simply an admission that one does not know what the dingo's kidney is going on. Anyway, MoND underpredicts the speeds a bit, and the rms difference between the data and the predictions is 3.6 km/s (By the way, entropic gravity also cannot predict these dwarfs since it predicts the anomalies should be greatest at large scales, but these dwarfs show that galaxy rotation anomalies are greatest at low accelerations, rather than large scales).

The predictions of quantised inertia, QI/MiHsC, don't depend on scale, but depend, correctly, on low acceleration, and are shown in the plot by the black triangles. They are closer to the observations than MoND (the rms difference is 3.2 km/s) but the main point is that quantised inertia beats MoND (albeit slightly) WITHOUT an arbitrary adjustable parameter. Nothing is input to QI apart from the visible matter, the speed of light and the cosmic diameter (all quantities that can be observed). I now have the beginnings of the feeling you get in chess when you are approaching the end game with the advantage (I recognise this feeling, though I have not had it very often!) and I hope that physicists do not just try to throw the chess board out of the window, but show some interest in how it was done.


McCulloch, M.E., 2012. Testing quantised inertia on galactic scales. Astrophysics and Space Science, Vol. 342, 2, 575-578. ResearchGate preprint, ArXiv preprint

McCulloch, M.E., 2017. Low-acceleration dwarf galaxies as tests of quantised inertia. Astrophysics and Space Science (accepted). Online

Saturday 4 February 2017

Proxima Centauri or Bust

The fastest object launched by man so far is the New Horizons probe which was launched directly into a Sol escape trajectory and is traveling now beyond Pluto at 16.26 km/s. At this speed it would get from London to New York in about 6 minutes. Even so, it would get to our nearest stellar neighbour, Proxima Centauri, if it was heading that way, in 78,600 years. This is the state of our space propulsion at the present time. Pretty weenie!

What we need to do is to get close enough to the speed of light so that relativistic time dilation slows time down from those on the ship (and keep the acceleration time short, because it does the opposite) so that physics gives us a kind of built-in suspended animation. Slo-time for those on the ship, but not for those back on Earth. In this way, say at half light speed you could get to Proxima Centauri in 8 years (measured from the Earth) and 4 years as measured on the ship. A four year trip to explore/settle another Solar system is not that bad! It is theoretically possible, but the big problem, and it's a pretty big one as problems go, is that to get a ship of similar size as the Space Station (400 tonnes) to 0.5c would take about 27 times the entire energy output of our civilisation per year. Another way of looking at it is that that you'd need to carry a planet-sized amount of fuel.

But, in my opinion, and I believe I now have enough evidence for quantised inertia / MiHsC / horizon dynamics to say this boldly, there is another way. The zero point field predicted by Einstein and Stern (1913) is all around us and we have been mostly oblivious to it. It is like air pressure: an intense 100,000 Newtons per metre. We don't notice it because it is uniform, but if you try to make it non-uniform (ie: make a vacuum) you suddenly notice it, because if you don't build a tough vacuum chamber then it would implode violently.

A kind of 'vacuum' can be made in the zero point field using two metal plates placed very close to each other (the Casimir effect) and this also makes a force as has been confirmed experimentally. Quantised inertia says that whenever a metal plate, or an object's acceleration, or a limit-to-what-we-can-view makes a 'horizon', then this damps the zero point field making it non-uniform and able to push on the objects. In this way quantised inertia simply explains the previously unexplained phenomenon of inertia, galaxy rotation without dark matter, cosmic acceleration without dark energy, and the emdrive.

We can apply all this to our travel problem. Imagine a spaceship with a horizon in front of it (see Figure). The horizon would damp the zero point field in front of the ship, making something like a virtual vacuum there. Suddenly there would be a force (analogous to the force caused by the air-vacuum) that would pull the ship forwards. Note that no heavy fuel is required, just a horizon/shield. The emdrive, in my opinion, is doing just this, and quantised inertia predicts the emdrive's thrust very well (see recent post).

Mainwhile mainstream physics is, in my opinion, wasting millions searching for dark matter that quantised inertia has shown is not needed, and other studies have also falsified. The mainstream should really start to pay attention to quantised inertia. They could help immensely: there is a lot of scope for improvement and extension of the theory. The bonuses would be a unification of physics (quantised inertia combines quantum mechanics and relativity), an explanation for astrophysical anomalies like galaxy rotation, and cosmic acceleration, and the opening up of entire new kind of horizon-engineering (which amounts to an manipulation of space-time, for lifting, transport and launching). We could also stop messing around in space weenie-town and start thinking of galactic settlement. No other planet in our Solar system is pleasantly habitable, but many other Solar systems will have their 'Earths' at just the right distance from their sun.  There's a possibly habitable planet orbiting Proxima Centauri. Wouldn't it be fascinating to visit?

"Really mankind, the plans for demolition have been available on Alpha Centauri which is only 4 light years away you know. I'm sorry, but if you can't be bothered with local affairs than it's your own fault..." - Prostetnic Vogon Jeltz' comments on the demolition of Earth to make way for a new hyperspace bypass (Douglas Adams).