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 23 April 2018

Inertia & Gravity from Conservation of EMI

I'm always looking for ways to simplify quantised inertia since it is not the easiest concept to get across, and also simplification usually leads to a deeper understanding. My usual argument using Unruh waves and horizons is equivalent to what follows below, but there is now a simpler way to frame quantised inertia, which I published in 2016. First of all, just as Einstein assumed that physics should not be frame-dependent, quantised inertia assumes that physics should not be scale-dependent. To explain: a huge entity the size of a galaxy (say) should agree with us on the physics it sees. Therefore, Heisenberg's uncertainty relation (below) should apply to stars too


This is illustrated by the diagram which shows a large object (black ball) and its uncertainty in position (solid envelope) and momentum (dashed envelope). Since hbar must be kept constant, then the more an object knows its position (dx smaller, the solid line is closer to the ball) the more it does not know its momentum (dp is bigger, the dashed line is further from the ball).
Now let us forget for a moment that quantum mechanics and relativity usually get on like two cats in a bag, and combine them. If the object accelerates to the left (red arrow) then information from far to its right can never catch up and a relativistic horizon (like a black hole event horizon) appears at a distance of


in the rightward direction (see the solid right-angle). So the uncertainty in position is reduced since the object's space has been curtailed from the cosmic scale to a scale 'd'. As a result, the uncertainty of momentum to the right is increased (the dashed line is far from the ball) and the ball will jiggle more rightwards: against its original acceleration. This predicts the inertial force (blue arrow) in the modified form needed for quantised inertia, and so it predicts galaxy rotation without dark matter and cosmic acceleration without dark energy. QI is, simply put, the quantum and relativistic equations shown above rammed together in the way shown in the diagram. To put it more physically: new mass-energy (dp) appears if information about space (dx) is curtailed. Put another way: what is conserved in nature is not mass-energy, but M-E plus information (conservation of EMI).

Now imagine putting a large mass next to an object. To some extent this mass will block information from that direction, reduce dx in the uncertainty principle and increase the momentum (or quantum jitter) that way. The two objects will then jitter-themselves together. This looks very much like gravity, and in the 2016 paper I show that you get Newtonian gravity from it. To get something like general relativity (in a QI form) the same derivation will have to be done fully relativised.

Now imagine that instead of putting a large mass next to the object, we put an information horizon there that reduces 'dx' in that direction and increases the quantum jitter (dp). The object should see a thrust. Since quantum waves are partly electro-magnetic, a conducting metamaterial should do. In my opinion this has already been seen in the emdrive, since QI predicts it well, and everything I have published over the last 11 years implies that this new thrust is possible. Can it be powerful enough to oppose gravity? I think so. Good news: solid lab tests are coming.


McCulloch, M.E., 2016. Quantised inertia from relativity and the uncertainty principle. EPL, 115, 69001. https://arxiv.org/abs/1610.06787

If you wish to support my work a little, you can do so here:


Jimmy Johnson said...


I assumed that the long lapse since your last post meant that you were working on a new idea or paper. I even thought I smelled a wiff of smoke form intense concentration. Here is my quick impression of your latest post.

"Everything Should Be Made as Simple as Possible, But Not Simpler" A. Einstein

I agree that trying to analyze a concept or problem from different perspectives is a powerful tool in assisting understanding. The limitation of that technique often comes in trying to shoehorn concepts into formulations that might not fit. You may have squeezed too hard in your latest attempt at simplification.

Here are a couple of obvious example of squeeze points:

1. Your acknowledgement that, "Now let us forget for a moment that quantum mechanics and relativity usually get on like two cats in a bag, and combine them". This is not a minor obstacle that is in any way overcome by its acknowledgement.

2. Your statement,"Since quantum waves are partly electro-magnetic", creates another major obstacle. As one example, if the pretty solid experiments on entanglement are correct, then correlation at a distance exceeding the speed of light makes quantum mechanical interaction superluminal. Superluminal interaction would be a disaster for all formulations of MiHsC.

I would expect that the alternate explanation in your latest blog, rather than making MiHsC more acceptable and clearer to members of the entrenched physics establishment, would actually put bigger obstacles in your path, and make Misc much more difficult to defend in an unbiased intellectual discussion.

Your more traditional explanation of MiHsC, while not simple, is logical and based upon concepts that are reasonable. The main difficulty in their general acceptance in the physics community is not due to lack of simplicity or clarity. The resistance to acceptance of the MiHsC concept is primarily due to fossilized thinking, entrenched smugness, and threatened interests. The only thing which can rapidly change this type of opposition is repeated clear experimental data, and above all else monetary leverage, be it grant or valuable devices.

If, "Good news: solid lab tests are coming", provides clear support for MiHsC, then those of open mind may begin to accept th MiHsC concept. The general rate for acceptance of new theories based upon just solid data is about half a century. Faster acceptance is generally only obtained when pecuniary advantage is attached, in which case general acceptance will only require a few decades. The controlling factor is social inertia, not simplicity of concept. This inconvenient and even lamentable fact is without doubt frustrating to those who are trying to advance human understanding of the natural world.

Jimmy Johnson

Simon Derricutt said...

Nice comment Jimmy, but I think the ability to react to a change of the horizon instantaneously implies that QI/HM/MiHsC also has spooky action at a distance that is superluminal.

The main advantage of QI, as I see it, is that it depends only on things we can measure and that the mathematics is simple (and seems to work for diverse experimental results). The disadvantage is that it requires a different viewpoint on how the universe works than the standard system that has been taught. People have however swallowed ideas that are more difficult because the calculations give the right answers, so if QI produces a prediction of a useful effect (hopefully profitable too) that can then be shown to exist, then acceptance of the idea may be faster than you predict here.

Maybe the key here would be to predict how we can produce an artificial horizon in a location of our choice. If Unruh waves are actually EM waves then that should be fairly simple, but I suspect they are not EM waves and that they have not yet been detected, with the light produced from those nanotips being normal photons travelling at the speed of light.

I don't see Relativity and Quantum mechanics as being antithetical, personally. QM tells you what is actually happening, and Relativity tells you what you will see to happen, and the two things are different because we use light to measure it. Relativity goes through some hoops of specifying curved spacetime in order to produce the same effect as the force of gravity propagating instantaneously - maybe Ockham's Razor would suggest that gravitons do not exist, and don't move at lightspeed anyway, but that gravitation attraction is actually instantaneous. Certainly, orbit calculations actually work using Newton's laws and instantaneous gravity - consider two stars in a close orbit around each other and a planet at some distance away, where the light-speed propagation of gravitons would produce a spiral of variations in gravitational strength around the two stars and the gravity experienced at the planet would be delayed. This is also testable by a close inspection of Sirius (double star), so it's actually possible to get an experimental answer. Still, it'll be a brave person who publishes....

We progress from initial explanations to better ones as experimental evidence turns up that the older theories can't explain. It takes a while.

Julien said...

About the instantaneity of inertial reaction forces and action-at-a-distance: asked about "advanced solutions" as in the Wheeler-Feynman absorber theory of electrodynamics, and the derived Gravitational Absorber Theory in the case of gravity (cf. Jim Woodward Mach effects), Mike answered this on Twitter:

"The short answer to that is that relativity does not preclude monochromatic waves traveling faster than c, since no information is carried."


"This is not a compete answer tho, because the horizon is actually a horizon in the future so there is something more going on here that looks like the EPR paradox."

Simon Derricutt said...

A monochromatic EM wave must have nodes at the horizons, since otherwise it couldn't exist. It must also be unchanging in amplitude or frequency, since any changes could only propagate at light-speed. For the case of the Unruh wave, this carries information as to where the horizon is, and so according to relativity it couldn't tell you of a change in the horizon now, but only when that change in wavelength had propagated to the horizon and back again (in around 27 billion years). There is thus an inbuilt problem in considering the Unruh wave as electromagnetic. The problem of spooky action at a distance has however been in quantum physics from the start, and was a reason for Einstein not to like it. That superluminal (in fact instantaneous) transmission of data across any distance does however seem to be reality, and so getting information about the horizon at this instant in time is not prohibited in QM.

Given the way that QI produces the right answers using measurable inputs, yet if we consider the Unruh wave to be electromagnetic then it can't work, then it seems logical to consider the wave as being in *something else* other than the space we know, where the velocity is not limited by the permittivity and permeability of free space.

As far as I can tell, where the propagation rate of a wave is infinite then the only valid solution will be a standing wave from horizon to horizon. Logically, the wave is of infinite length, but the horizons impose a quantisation of possible wavelengths. We have no information from beyond the horizons, so the infiniteness (or not) of the wave beyond those points is unknowable.

I'm putting this forward as a suggestion for discussion, since though QI works the explanation using EM waves as the carriers of information about the horizon does not seem possible. Using a wave with the same properties but of infinite speed seems to be allowed.

Anonymous said...

For the case of the Unruh wave, this carries information as to where the horizon is

That's what has bothered me for a while. With QI you should be able to transmit information super-luminally by changing a horizon some distance away and having the receiver measure the QI effects.

I admit I haven't worked out the radial change of that horizon to effect a big enough change to measure, that radial change is limited by light speed (or less, since it's generally a barrier with mass)

Julien said...

Guys, are you familiar with the concept of "advanced waves" from Wheeler and Feynman? Basically, such waves come from the future and propagate backward in time. The advanced solujtion propagate at light speed (so they are not superluminal but again, they travel backward in time, i.e. with an "antichronous" arrow of time) through space from the horizon, converging toward the accelerating object. They "touch" the object a the very same time it starts to accelerate. The advanced wave is the same wave as emitted by the object forward in time toward the horizon (the regular, retarde wave) but taken reversed in time from the horizon toward the object. This enables instantaneous action at a distance in electrodynamics and inertia.

See Jim Woodward's / Heidi Fearn's work on that subject.

Simon Derricutt said...

Julien - the "waves from the future" idea implies that the future is already set and that we can't change it. It regards time as a dimension the same as length, width or height, and though the mathematical transforms work in Relativity I don't regard time as equivalent to space, since we can't predict absolutely what will happen but only give the answers as probabilities. The precise future is inherently unknowable.

We can measure what has happened, and our measurements are distorted by the time it takes for the signal to reach us, and that is what gives us the impression that space and time are equivalent dimensions, and that they are mixed according to velocity relative to us.

If you can build a device that will measure the waves coming from the future, by extension you could predict exactly what will happen in the future since you can see it as if it were the past. Still, if it's possible to do that, then someone in the future will have done that and would no doubt transmit a "how to" backwards in time. At that point (however we then define a point in time) the knowledge would be available to all who had a sufficient technology, and the whole of history from now on could be mapped. Things get a bit boring then, since no-one (and no elementary particle) would have any choices any longer. This line of thinking gets so many logical loopholes that I think it's most likely impossible to go backwards in time. Time is not a physical dimension, although for some calculations it may be treated as one.

Julien said...

This is about causality. Advanced waves "coming from the future" (a bad wording actually, but we lack other expressions and concepts for such things) cannot be used to know or modify the course of events in advance. Woodward use this analogy (excerpt from his book):


And explains further after the image:

"What we do see, moving forward in time, when and advanced wave comes back from the future is a wave that appears to be propagating away from the impact of the rock toward the shoreline of the pond. That is, the advanced wave looks exactly like a retarded wave. As long as the advanced wave coming back from the future didn’t propagate farther into the past than the rock hitting the water that initiated all of the waves, neither you nor I could tell whether the waves in the pond had any advanced component. So, using retarded and advanced waves to get distant objects to “instantaneously” affect local objects becomes finding a solution for wave action that cancels the advanced waves at the source (the rock hitting the water) to keep them from traveling farther into the past."

"What Wheeler and Feynman noted was that if a forward in time propagating wave in the electromagnetic field was eventually absorbed by enough material out there in the distant universe, and as it was absorbed it produced an “advanced” wave propagating backward in time, all of the contributions from all of the parts of the absorber would just get back to the source at exactly the right time to produce the apparent force of radiative reaction. And as they passed the origin of the waves into the past, if the waves were half advanced and half retarded, they would cancel out the “advanced” wave propagating from the source into the past. So future events would not indiscriminately screw up the past (and our present). But the half-advanced waves coming back from the future provide a way for arbitrarily distant objects to affect events in the present seemingly instantaneously. In the case of gravity, this allows the whole universe to act on any object that’s accelerated by an external (non-gravitational) force with an equal and opposite force."

Simon Derricutt said...

Julien - a mathematical treatment of the reverse-time wave will give largely the same appearance, but a forward-time wave can be reflected and thus a reverse-time wave would logically do the same. Unless you can say that that reverse-time wave will be completely absorbed/cancelled on the object and will not have been deflected by any other object on its route back through time, then you will get those reflections going further into the past. This seems non-physical to me, and would give effects we can measure.

A thought-experiment: set up a system to measure the advanced (time-backward) wave and then set up a system to emit that wave backwards in time so that you can measure it before you have sent it. It seems that you'll need to get the timing of when you send the wave precisely right so that it matches up with the time you have already received it (assuming negative light-speed). If you can't first measure the reception of the wave, maybe your equipment is going to fail at the point you come to try to send it. I'm of course assuming that if these waves are real then it must be possible to set up emission and reception of them, since they are in most respects normal EM waves and so an aerial would work as well in forward or reverse time. I'm sure you can see the logical problem of having to emit that wave at precisely the right time, and that no uncertainty is allowed in this situation. Signalling backwards in time will produce paradox and also would imply that all history and all the future are absolutely fixed. No chance, no free will, just a track that everything must follow. If the backwards-travelling wave has been reflected from anything along its route, then the thing that reflected it must also be moved to the right place at the right time, and this cannot be changed. Of course, if the thing that reflects the wave isn't an infinite plane surface, then the source of the wave (in the future) must be in multiple places and at multiple amplitudes in order to arrive at its destination as a single wave that can be destructively interfered with to negate it.

On the other hand, though it's almost as difficult to consider a wave/signal of infinite speed, we do have some evidence that entanglement works and that instantaneous action at a distance works currently up to around 100-200km. If we can signal at infinite speed to a spacetime that is "now" but somewhere else, or at lightspeed to a spacetime that is later but further away, but cannot signal backwards in time, then we have a system that has no inconsistencies or paradox. I thus consider that time can go from stopped to a certain maximum rate, but cannot be reversed, since any reversal should give rise to measurable effects.

There's of course no good reason for the universe to obey logical laws, or that it isn't all mapped out until the time of the Big Smash (opposite of Big Bang when maybe the universe shrinks back to a point again, possibly), or to infinity (and beyond) if the Universe only expands. Still, it does seem far more likely that what we think of as random occurrences are not predictable. It seems to me you hear those rattling dice everywhere.

RichD said...


"...it seems logical to consider the wave as being in *something else* other than the space we know, where the velocity is not limited by the permittivity and permeability of free space."

I've often wondered about this myself. I wonder if it is possible that the "macro" measurements of free space such as permittivity, permeability, the speed of light, and so on are the result of the fact that nothing that moves through a vacuum is moving through a true vacuum. Perhaps virtual particle pairs popping in and out are an impediment to anything passing through that vacuum. Like a person walking through a pool of waist deep water will move more slowly than someone walking through just air.

If so, then perhaps these particle pairs might not see the universe in the way we do, since they aren't exactly moving through space but simply arriving in their current state with whatever de Broglie wavelength they happen to have, even at a Hubble scale. Put another way, maybe things could exceed c if there weren't a lot of quantum "stuff" in the way. To your point, perhaps these particle pairs see something more like a "true" vacuum rather than a congested one.

It might explain why physical measurements for c occasionally slightly disagree. Perhaps the orientation of large planetary masses or other large scale magnetic solar events form lightly damping horizons that slightly change the permittivity and permeability of space locally, muddling the measurements.

Julien said...

An advanced wave is undistinguishable from its retarded solution, which is exactly the same but backward in time. You can't "emit and measure an advanced wave". The retarded wave emitted forward in time from an emitter to an absorber is the exact same wave that propagates backward in time from the absorber to the emitter. These solutions are invariant under time-reversal transformation, i.e. they are two sides of the same coin (a coin having two same heads or two same tails with their image in a mirror actually ;-) )

BTW such advanced & forward solutions applied to quantum mechanics (the Transactional Interpretation of QM) is John Cramer's excellent book "The Quantum Handshake" (Springer 2016).

Simon Derricutt said...

Julien - if it's actually the same physical wave but viewed in reverse time, then I don't see any advantage in the formalism. If you consider the normal wave being subject to reflections from various objects, then it should be obvious that when working in reverse time that the various reflecting objects would need to be in exactly the right places at the right times. Sure, when working in forward time we don't have that restriction since we can't predict where that photon will end up. When working in reverse time, however, we'd need to predict all the reflecting objects in time and space and emit the wave at the right time and in the right direction in order to hit the (forward time) emitter at the right time, point and direction in the past.

Time-reversal is a mathematical formalism, as I see it. If it could actually be physically done then it would require us to be able to predict the future with absolute precision. Whereas the idea is useful at the atomic scale where a few things are interacting over a short distance, if you try to expand that to macroscopic and more-complex system it becomes non-physical and paradoxical.

If you can't emit and measure an advanced wave, then it has no place in real physics which deals with things we can measure. We cannot prove the existence of something we can't measure. If by postulating the existence of such a thing gives a neat explanation that fits what is measured, then it can be useful, but until a real physical measurement is made then it's just an aid to thinking. That's my main objection to the Dark Matter/Dark Energy story. May as well call it pixie dust.

Unknown said...

Hi Doctor McCulloch,

Thank you for your breathtaking work !.

I'think you can be the Newton of 21th centry. In my opinion Gravity too should be some casimir effect involving Unruh radiations => 2 massif bodies damp Unruh radiation between them causing force attraction.

I'wish you all the success in your work.

God bless you.