I've suggested (& published in 21 journal papers) a new theory called quantised inertia (or MiHsC) that assumes that inertia is caused by relativistic horizons damping quantum fields. It predicts galaxy rotation, cosmic acceleration & the emdrive without any dark stuff or adjustment. My Plymouth University webpage is here, I've written a book called Physics from the Edge and I'm on twitter as @memcculloch

Sunday, 6 June 2021

Whose Hand on the Tiller?

Here is a Letter I just emailed to New Scientist. I doubt they will publish it so I am putting it here to avoid having wasted my time:

In 2007, I started to publish peer reviewed papers suggesting a new theory called quantised inertia which predicts disc galaxy rotations without dark matter, simply and without adjustment. I've published 25 peer-reviewed papers on it and I am now funded to test its predictions of propellantless thrust, but I have had difficulty getting the message out. The arXiv publishes preprints of papers before they appear in journals, but its anonymous editors have refused to publish some of my papers even after they were published in good journals. Those it did accept, it hid away in a section called 'general physics' which is a sort of naughty boys' room that few people look at. Anonymous people also wreak havoc on wikipedia & google. When you search for quantised inertia, you find excoriation, whereas in reality there is far more evidence for quantised inertia than for dark matter - though admittedly that is not difficult since dark matter has no evidence at all. Scientists use these public sources for their convenience and make decisions based on them so it is not right that anonymous people, who could be unqualified, or with a conflict or interest, are having such an impact on research that has been through rigorous peer review. We have to reinstate the scientific method or we may be manipulated into making the wrong decisions.

Tuesday, 27 April 2021

Response to Tajmar's New Cavity Results

First of all, there is no criticism of Tajmar's team here. Their work ethic & professionalism have always been impressive and their results are useful, as you will see. The problems that have arisen are my fault, and probably caused by not demanding detailed schematics before the experiments.

I employed the Tajmar group, to test quantised inertia as part of my DARPA project. They manufactured several very attractive copper and silver cavities. All of them had asymmetric distributions of metal to asymmetrically damp Unruh waves and hopefully cause thrust. A laser was fired into each and a sensitive double pendulum balance was used to detect very small (nanoNewton) forces.

Unfortunately, and I did not know this until I read their paper last month (mea culpa). On page 7 they say “every copper [and silver] cavity was encapsulated in an aluminium case, similar to the beam trap mentioned earlier to reduce heat radiation to balance components”. The problem is that the addition of a symmetric metal box will cancel the thrust from quantised inertia. Here is a schematic to explain.

Figure (a) shows an incomplete understanding of quantised inertia. The Unruh waves seen by a highly-accelerated object (photon, black circle) in an asymmetric cavity are more energetic (hotter) at the wide end (red), and cooler at the narrow end (blue), so an internal object is pushed left, but the cavity is not: any forces are only internal. A better picture is (b): the Unruh waves seen by the accelerated object also exist outside the cavity which is partially transparent to them and therefore the cavity ‘falls down’ the Unruh gradient. This is how quantised inertia predicts thrust. In case (c), representing Tajmar’s copper or silver cavity tests, the cavity is inside a metal box so there will be a push (see colours) between the cavity & box but friction stops movement. QI predicts that the combined cavity+box must show no or much less thrust: there’s no background gradient.

Tajmar's thrust results indeed show no thrust. It is important to point out that none of the results I'm going to discuss now are significant since the error bars are about the same size as the values, but please look at this graph which I made to summarise Tajmar's thrust data. The x axis shows the expected photon thrust from the laser (F=P/c). The y axis shows the observed thrust minus the expected photon thrust. So dots above the x axis show the thrust we hope to see.

Firstly, most of the points are above the x axis, so there is slightly more than the photon thrust (but not significantly). This might be expected since all of the cavities, no matter what their geometrical shape had a thicker wall in the positive thrust direction, and quantised inertia predicts more Unruh damping in that direction which predicts a positive thrust. This 'wall thickness' effect should be more robust to the addition of the metal box than the variations in the geometry of the cavities which are thin walled, like the metal box.

Second, the silver cavities (labelled Ag) show more ‘thrust’ then the copper (Cu) ones. This is interesting & makes sense because the Q value for Cu was 9 and for the Ag it was 39 (silver is more reflective) so we would expect 4.3 times the energy to be present in the silver cavities and 4.3 times the thrust from them. The average thrust is shown on the plot as the narrow dashed line for copper at .05 nN and 0.16 nN for silver. The factor is 3.2.

Again, these results are all smaller than the errors, so we cannot say anything solid from them. Yes, I know, excruciatingly frustrating, blame me, but given that the cavities were inside a metal box, it's the best we can hope for from this data and on this blog I will give you the real deal, not just the slam-dunk stuff. The next step will be to do the same tests without a metal box while also trying out the capacitor method of Becker & Bhatt which is perhaps 1000 times more powerful.

The true path never did run smooth!

I thank the Tajmar team because these results are very useful.

References

Neunzig, O., M. Weikert and M. Tajmar, 2021. Thrust measurements and evaluation of asymmetric infrared laser resonators for space propulsion. SP2020+1, March 2021. Link https://www.researchgate.net/publication/350108417_Thrust_Measurements_and_Evaluation_of_Asymmetric_Infrared_Laser_Resonators_for_Space_Propulsion

Saturday, 13 March 2021

Bend Light, Not Space

I feel like I am now entering the end game, which probably just means my troubles are just beginning. For a while now I've had a theoretical goal that can be boiled down to two things:

1) Reproduce the bending of light by the Sun, just like general relativity.

2) Retain the ability of quantised inertia to predict MoND-like behaviour in galaxies.

It was Alex Unzicker's books (especially "Einstein's Lost Key") that convinced me that the best way to do this would be to focus on a curious path followed by Einstein in 1911-1912 just before he was persuaded away into untestable geometry by Marcel Grossman. While in Prague Einstein devised a version of GR that treated space as if it had a refractive index. The idea was that the speed of light c=fL reduces close to masses because relativity reduces both f (frequency) and L (wavelength) there, and so light beams bend around the Sun twice as much as Newton would have predicted. Unfortunately, at the time he forgot the reduction in L and predicted only half the correct bending of light. This error was corrected by Dicke in 1957 but by then it was too late and the later geometrical-tensor GR had taken over because it was not stymied by the factor of two error.

To agree with the data on light bending by the Sun (data: the only important consideration), the correct theory must predict this equation for the speed of light c a distance r away from a mass M:

For a lot of last year, on and off, and for several weeks this year I have been trying to get this relation from QI. I did it last year and rejected it for various intuitive reasons. Last week I did it again and realised that it was the right way! The solution is obvious and beautiful in a way that cannot be explained until you actually see it, but it's not published yet so I can't tell you the whole story.

What quantised inertia says is that the zero point field (and its energised version: Unruh radiation) close to matter is damped (reduced) so light bends towards the matter, sliding down the zpf gradient. This gives Newtonian gravity (see my 2013 paper), but in QI we also have to consider the cosmic horizon of the light which reduces the inertial mass of the photons even more than expected so they bend towards the Sun twice as much as expected. It all works out nicely and gives the equation above. The great advantages of the new QI dynamics are that it gets rid of dark matter, it predicts cosmic acceleration and practical thrust and, unlike bent space which cannot be directly tested, it could be directly tested by measuring the zpf in different places with, say, a Casimir probe.

Given the lab results that are starting to come in (see my blog last month) and this latest theoretical result I expect breathless requests for zoom presentations will come flooding in from physics departments all over the globe! (I always like to end on a humorous note).

References

McCulloch, M.E., 2013. Gravity from the uncertainty principle. Astrophys & Space Science, 349, 957-959. Link to Pdf

Unzicker, A., 2015. Einstein's Lost Key.

Saturday, 6 February 2021

Horizon Engineers

In 2017, an electrical engineer called Frank Becker contacted me, saying that he'd read my papers on quantised inertia and the emdrive and he particularly noted my discussion that dielectrics placed inside an emdrive might enhance thrust. It reminded him, he said, of an experiment that he'd done years ago trying to replicate the Biefeld-Brown effect with tin foil capacitors and dielectrics. Indeed he had seen thrust towards the anode just as Biefeld & Brown did.

After he emailed me, we liaised on occasion via skype, and the following year or so he teamed up with an actor called Ankur Bhatt who also has an MSc in engineering and they did some Frank-ly (forgive the pun) brilliant experiments. I advised them as much as I could on QI. A schematic of the experiment is shown in the Figure and you can find the details in the paper below. The capacitor plates are on the right hand side (the grey lines). You can see the electrons accelerating to the right from the cathode to the anode (red arrows).

The electrons accelerate to the right over an inter-plate distance of 10 microns and a potential difference of 5000V, so their acceleration is huge (10^19 m/s^2) so they see a Rindler horizon only about 2 cm to their left (the black line). Normally in QI, when an object accelerates rightwards the Rindler horizon on its left damps the quantum vacuum on that side pulling it back against the acceleration. But, here, this is reversed since the two plates damp the vacuum to the right (a Casimir effect) more than the horizon does. The yellow shading here denotes less vacuum energy than the orange shading. So, here there is an extra push to the right and the electrons accelerate more than you'd expect, pushing the anode more when they get there.

The most crucial component of this experiment is that Becker and Bhatt also played around with  putting metal plates in various positions around the setup (Edmund Blackadder - "It's not what you've got, but where you stick it!") and found that when they placed a metal plate to the right of the horizon it reduced the force (it's like a closer horizon) but when they put the plate behind the horizon (to the left) the effect of it vanished. This may be the first direct observation of a Rindler horizon and backs quantised inertia very strongly. I've just written a paper, soon to be submitted, that shows that QI predicts the thrusts they saw.

Becker & Bhatt deserve a lot of thanks for this experiment. If the thrust can be confirmed, it is one thousand times what I was hoping for from my photon-based experiments. I am now funded to reproduce their experiment at my university, starting in May.

References

Becker, F. and A. Bhatt. Electrostatic accelerated electrons within symmetric capacitors during field emission condition events exert bidirectional propellant-less thrust. https://arxiv.org/abs/1810.04368