I've suggested (& published in 21 journal papers) a new theory called quantised inertia (or MiHsC) that assumes that inertia is caused by horizons damping quantum fields. It predicts galaxy rotation & lab thrusts without any dark stuff or adjustment. My University webpage is here, I've written a book called Physics from the Edge and I'm on twitter as @memcculloch. Most of my content is at patreon now: here

Friday 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


mikegem said...

What are the ideal material characteristics of damping plates? Must they be metal? Or does it matter at all with respect to shielding Unruh radiation?

If electrical conductivity is key, would high temperature superconductive ceramic plates be better than room temperature metals?

Or if atomic lattice density is key, then synthetic diamond (highest atomic density material) would be the thing to use.

Mike McCulloch said...

Mikegem: The agreement of quantised inertia with the emdrive data suggests that we can assume that the Unruh field is mostly the electromagnetic component. So, a conductor is needed (or a mirror). Yes, superconductors would be better (more efficient cancellation of the em field).

Analytic D said...
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Analytic D said...

1 billion turns fiber optic cable, made up of 10000 parallel channels of 10km each, using 10W each, for a total of 100kW, each with an attenuated Q of ~30,000, and multiple superconducting plates oriented above it for damping..

you'll either get nothing

a measurable effect

or the entire apparatus will fly straight up into the ceiling, possibly exploding, possibly blowing up the entire building, and maybe nearby buildings in that case

This is a bit comical, but it is important we bring enough orders of magnitude to this fight.

Mike McCulloch said...

AnalyticD: That would give us a few Newton's of force upwards on the loop. Should be enough, if the loop is free to move (not coupled to the heavy shield).

Dan's Test Blog said...

If the loop isn’t free to move, what effect would you see then?

Mike McCulloch said...

Dan: There would be stress in the loop's supports, but no movement of course.

tonyon said...
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Dan's Test Blog said...

If the electrons are being pulled up would there be something like a Hall effect?

Unknown said...

@tonyon, you don't need huge acceleration to make interstellar travel possible, you just need the ability to do constant acceleration.

do the math and you will find that the difference between 0.1G, 1G, 10G, 100G, or 1000G is relatively minor, all are very practical

Analytic D said...

@Unknown above this

yeah, once you get to ignore the rocket equation you pretty much get to go full space opera

Mike McCulloch said...

Unknown & AnalyticD: Indeed, to make interstellar travel possible you just need to use the fuel that is out there in deep space, ie: nothing (the zpf). Quantised inertia and the emdrive are the first clues how to do that.

Unknown said...

@Analytic D yes, pretty much.

At least in the Solar System, you could do routine trips between Earth and space or the inner planets, as easily as we do intercontinental flights today, and a bit longer but totally feasible trips to the outer planets.

But interstellar travels are still hard. Many years per travel, given you still are below c.

Feasible for probes but much harder for humans that need food, water, air and supplies. Nevertheless worldships taking a city worth of people to the stars could one day become feasible, given the greatly increased cargo capacity and the growth of space activities we can expect would result in such big ships eventually being made.

Albeit I understand Mike's theory predicts some super-luminal speeds are indeed possible, but I ignore how fast we could actually go with any feasible implementation of any technology using these phenomena.

joesixpack said...


Have you seen this seminal paper by Edward Harrison?


R. Harrison, Edward. (1995). Mining Energy in an Expanding Universe. The Astrophysical Journal. 446. 63. 10.1086/175767.


I have enrolled in a chemistry/physics double major undergraduate programme. I will grind through stats, maths and comp. sci on my own.

Unknown said...


How do you think that light would produce Unruh radiation ? Like the fiber optic loop will accelerate the light ?
And what kind of metal structures would we need to create an artificail-horizon ?

Thank you