I've suggested (& published in 18 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

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:

Basics

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.

Evidence

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.

Application

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.

Conclusion

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.

References

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:

References

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.

References

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.

References

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.

References:

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