I chose the title Physics from the Edge mainly because the theory of inertia I have suggested (MiHsC) says that local inertia is affected by the Hubble-edge. My webpage is here, my twitters are here. I've written a book on MiHsC also called Physics from the Edge.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Underwater Star?

Christmas is a time for unexplained stars, so I thought I would talk about one of the most down to Earth and yet oddest anomalies I've come across: sonoluminescence, meaning light from sound or more poetically: a underwater star. To make sonoluminescence in the lab you fill a spherical glass bulb with degassed water and emit sound waves within it at the resonant frequency of the sphere. This causes a bubble in the centre of the sphere, which then collapses repeatedly. The interesting thing is that just after the bubble reaches its minimum size of about 0.1 micrometres it emits flashes of em radiation lasting 20 ps, like a little star flashing with amazing regularity, and whose Planck spectrum indicates that the temperature in the bubble is 10,000 Kelvin, hotter than the Sun's photosphere (the bit we can see) which has made some question whether fusion might be possible on this small scale..

I've been interested in this phenomenon even since I read of it, since I'm always looking for high acceleration experiments that might demonstrate MiHsC. This is relevant because in a MiHsC-cosmology paper that I finally published this year after many years of trying (McCulloch, 2014) I showed that MiHsC predicts that if you have a 'universe' of width W, then the background temperature in it must be greater than

T > 0.2hc/2kW    (1)

where h is Planck's constant, c is the speed of light and k is Boltzmann's constant. This formula, for example, predicts a Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) for the small early universe. MiHsC does this by ensuring that the Planck wavelength of all the heat emitted in the universe must be shorter than the size of the universe otherwise it would be unobservable. It is interesting that if it is assumed that the sonoluminescent bubble is a little universe, of width 0.1 micrometres, then the temperature predicted by MiHsC at the minimum size of the bubble is

T > 14,340 K

This agrees with the temperature that is inferred from the radiation that comes off the bubble (10,000K). Of course, there are lots of other possible explanations of sonoluminescence. The popular ideas are the compression of gas within the bubble or the formation of a plasma in the centre that leads to Brehmsstrahlung, but arguments against these are the lack of observed warming of the water and the quickness of the flash (Eberlein, 1996). Julian Schwinger in his last years suggested using the dynamical Casimir effect and this idea was developed by Eberlein (see the reference below). As always, to decide between all these suggestions, more data will be needed and it's tricky in this case because water absorbs a lot of the spectrum of the radiation emitted. A possible connection to MiHsC could be tested by looking at how the frequency of the light emitted depends on the minimum size of the bubble: using equation (1).


Eberlein, C., 1996. Sonoluminescence as quantum vacuum radiation. Phys.Rev.Lett., 76: 3842-3845. http://arxiv.org/abs/quant-ph/9506023

McCulloch, M.E., 2014. A toy cosmology from a Hubble-scale Casimir effect. http://www.mdpi.com/2075-4434/2/1/81

Thursday, 11 December 2014

No tracking of Voyager?

Someone commented on my blog a few weeks ago (Tim Goff) saying why can't Voyager data be used to look for the Pioneer anomaly. I'd always ignored Voyager data before because the Voyager craft were not spin stabilised and so their trajectory was too jerky to see a smooth anomaly because of frequent course corrections. However, Tim's point was interesting because Voyager is now beyond Neptune so there should be fewer course corrections. Since then I've been pestering various NASA centres to try and get the raw position data and they keep directing me to modelled trajectory data which by definition won't show up anomalies.

Now finally I've received a reply from NASA JPL who look after the data and they say that they haven't done any two-way tracking of the Voyager spacecraft since the Neptune encounter and they've been relying on a model! (this says all you need to know about mainstream theoretical physics, it is not just at NASA). I hope this doesn't mean that no-one else has been doing any two-way tracking because the Voyager is unique now in sampling an ultra-low acceleration regime where dynamical anomalies are showing up in deep space (galaxy rotation, cosmic acceleration, the Pioneer and flyby anomalies) and where MiHsC predicts these deviations. If you're in a unique regime, you have to take the opportunity to measure it!

Needless to say I have just written several quick emails to some people I know at NASA in the hope that someone somewhere is measuring position/speed, or that some measurements can be started. I hope so!

PS: Someone has just implied online that since they think the Pioneer anomaly has been explained, why bother? But, the Pioneer anomaly has only been 'simulated' by a complex thermal model: this is not a proof, and is certainly not strong enough to throw away an opportunity to sample uniquely low accelerations, especially since the galaxy rotation anomaly & cosmic acceleration are of the same size and form..

Saturday, 29 November 2014

A love of anomalies

MiHsC did not arise from any consideration of mathematical beauty, though it turns out it is beautiful. A crucial step was when I wrote down a list of strange observed anomalies in physics. Later I did a lot of thinking with this list in mind, to devise a new model to explain them, while still satisfying well-tested physics. MiHsC has developed a lot since then as I've tried to understand what it means more deeply, but too much theorizing is counterproductive and I always like to come back to real anomalies in the manner of Sherlock Holmes (Sir A.C. Doyle) who once said: 'you know my method: it is based on the observance of trifles' (anomalies). In my case, being fund-less and experimentally inexperienced, my 'observance' entails reading papers on the anomalies found by experimentalists & trying to predict them on paper, but I now have a long list of anomalies that I can predict with MiHsC without any adjustable parameters. Here is the list so far, arranged from the large scale to the small:

Cosmic acceleration: MiHsC predicts this as an effect of the cosmic horizon.
The low-l cosmic microwave background anomaly: MiHsC predicts it as above.
Cosmic mass: just enough to keep the cosmos closed: MiHsC predicts it.
The anomalous motion of galaxy clusters: MiHsC predicts it without dark matter.
Bullet cluster: MiHsC might fit, but there's not enough data to test it yet.
The galaxy rotation anomaly: MiHsC predicts it without dark matter.
Globular cluster rotation anomaly: MiHsC might fit, needs a computer model.
Observed minimum galactic masses: MiHsC agrees.
Is Alpha Centauri-C bound?: MiHsC predicts it's bound, agrees with independent data.
Flyby anomalies: MiHsC agrees partly, but the analysis is incomplete.
Pioneer anomaly: MiHsC agrees, but there's another 'complex' thermal explanation.
Tajmar effect: MiHsC predicts it.
EmDrive: MiHsC predicts it (very simplified calculation so far).
Poher experiments: MiHsC is consistent, not enough data to test numerically.
Podkletnov effect: MiHsC predicts the non-spinning part of it. Needs another look..
Sonoluminescence: MiHsC predicts the observed core temperature.
Planck mass: MiHsC predicts it within 26%.

Data is messy, sometimes wrong and it is the most difficult thing to understand in the world, but a data-first approach is the only proper and interesting way to do theoretical physics because new information from nature can only come into our theories that way. Happily, we are in an age of rapid technological advance (with new ways of observing the cosmos and lab precision) and simultaneously an age of mainstream theoretical dogma, which is great for me because it means that the list of anomalies is growing fast, and everyone else is ignoring them! A further list of anomalies I intend to look at is:

Quasars are aligned with each other and cosmic filaments.
The Andromeda satellite galaxies mostly orbit in a thin disk.
Galactic relativistic jets.
The wide binary rotation anomaly.
An anomalous, non-tidal, increase of lunar distance.
An increase in the Astronomical Unit.
Modanese effect: anomalous jumps near a superconductor cooled through Tc.
Significant anomalies in the gravitational constant, big G...

Monday, 24 November 2014

Large scales, new rules.

The discovery by Hutsemekers et al. (2014) that quasars (spinning galaxies with jets firing out along their spin axes) are aligned with their neighbours and with the large scale tendrils of visible matter in the cosmos, is a great result. I call papers like this 'signpost' papers in that they indicate experimentally which way to go. The crucial point is that a cosmic scale alignment of spins cannot be explained by dark matter, but it can be explained by MiHsC which predicts that mutual accelerations (including mutual spins) become more important for dynamics on large scales (low accelerations).

For a start, galactic jets are predicted by MiHsC. I wrote a paper in 2008 using MiHsC to explain the flyby anomalies, which are unexplained increases in speed of a few mm/s in spacecraft that approach the Earth at the equator and leave at the pole. MiHsC can model this as follows: when a spacecraft approaches the Earth at the equator, it sees all the pieces of matter in the spinning Earth accelerating towards and away from it and the mutual matter-spacecraft accelerations are large (one can show this mathematically) but when the spacecraft leaves at the pole, along the spin axis, the mutual accelerations between the craft and the matter in the Earth is less, so MiHsC predicts that the leaving craft looses inertial mass and because of the conservation of momentum, it speeds up. This predicts the flybys quite well, though I haven't yet considered all the accelerations involved (McCulloch, 2008). The MiHsC formula for this polar speed-up, which gives a few extra mm/s of speed near the Earth's spin axis, predicts a much larger effect for a bigger object like a galaxy: It predicts that large galaxies should have jets streaming away in both directions along their spin axes (I mentioned this in my book) and this looks very much like a quasar and may also explain the two lobes recently found along the Milky Way's spin axis by the NASA-Fermi team (Finkbeiner et al., 2010).

So, coming back to the new quasar results, from MiHsC you would expect to see quasar-like-objects with jets and long tendrils of visible matter (with lower inertial mass) along the direction of their spin axes giving rise to a filamental large scale structure. Also, with the tiny accelerations found in deep space, you would expect spinning objects to start to align in unexpected ways since MiHsC dominates in that regime and mutual acceleration (spins) become crucial. For an explanation of why two objects might tend to spookily co-rotate because of MiHsC, see McCulloch (2011).

PS: Another intriguing spin alignment was recently discovered in deep space: that between the satellite galaxies of Andromeda and the Milky Way (Ibata et al., 2012).


Finkbeiner et al., (2010) http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/GLAST/news/new-structure.html

Hutsemekers et al., 2014. ESO website. http://www.eso.org/public/unitedkingdom/news/eso1438/

Ibata et al. (2012). Nature, 493, 62–65

McCulloch, M.E., 2008. MNRAS, 389, 1, L57. http://mnrasl.oxfordjournals.org/content/389/1/L57.full

McCulloch, M.E., 2011. EPL, 95, 39002. Preprint: http://arxiv.org/abs/1106.3266

Saturday, 8 November 2014

MiHsC Retrospective

I'm still not sure of course whether the emdrive is a real effect or not, but for fun I've written a humorous dialogue about it and MiHsC, so in the spirit of amusement here it is: Kirk, Spock and McCoy travel back to 2014 curious about the early origin of the theories that lead to inertial damping and faster than light travel..

Spock: Captain, I've found some recent references to a theory called MiHsC and an experiment on something called the emdrive.

Captn: Alright Spock, let's have it!

Spock: I'll come to MiHsC in a moment, but the emdrive is a resonant microwave cavity, cone-shaped, that appears to move slightly towards its narrow end..

McCoy: Now just wait a minute Spock, I'm a Doctor not a physicist, but doesn't that violate the old conservation of momentum?

Spock: You are, surprisingly, correct Doctor.

McCoy: Why thank you Spock. I suppose that ends that conversation..

Kirk:  Don't bet on it bones!

McCoy: Sounds like another crackpot lead to me.

Spock: I find it fascinating.

McCoy: Why doesn't that surprise me!? But it still violates momentum conservation.

Spock: Doctor, the medical physics courses you took, even in our time, are still based on old 20th century physics and skim over the new physics, but the Enterprise would not move without it.

McCoy: You're telling me they repealed the conservation of momentum now?

Spock: No, but at this time, humanity is still mostly unaware of the momentum obtainable from the zero point field.

McCoy: But this emdrive looks like baloney: you can't make something move without applying some sort of detectable force!

Spock: Indeed you can if you know how. Even in this backward time period that was possible, though the wider potential was not realised until MiHsC was proposed. Are you aware of the Casimir effect?

McCoy: Forgive me Spock, I was busy curing real people while you were devoting your life to inanimate objects and impenetrable ideas.

Spock: Very commendable Doctor, but the Casimir effect is produced by putting two parallel plates close together, so that they damp virtual particles of the zero point field between them, so that more particles hit the plates from outside them than inside, and so the plates move together very slightly.

McCoy: What's your point?

Spock: The system has moved without a 'detectable' outside force being applied to it.

McCoy: Sounds like a lot of goddamned voodoo to me.

Spock: On the contrary, even at this time the Casimir effect has been observed many times and was the first experimental inkling of the 21st century revolution in physics.

McCoy: Well, be still my heart, but if it's only a tiny effect..

Spock: We have a saying on Vulcan: "If a door is slightly ajar, it's wide open"...and there's a theory proposed in this time called Modified inertia by a Hubble-scale Casimir effect (MiHsC) that brought the zero point field and horizons into physics, and also predicts the emdrive quite well..

Kirk:  MiHsC, MiHsC! That reminds me, Dr Carol Marcus used to go on about a funny old theory called MiHsC that started a paradigm shift and got rid of the need for something called dark matter and energy.

McCoy: Brings back fond memories does it, Jimmy boy?

Kirk:  Bones, as a Doctor you ought to know better than to reopen old wounds.

McCoy: Very funny. I'm sure you've made that joke before.

Kirk:  Good work Spock. It could be the beginning we need..

McCoy: (mumbles) Still sounds like a lot of baloney to me..

Monday, 3 November 2014

The hidden crisis in physics

There are exciting times ahead in physics since new data is rocking old theories and opening up new possibilities, but you wouldn't think it for the horrified faces I've seen at conferences whenever I explain MiHsC. The crisis in physics we now have, downplayed by most, dwarfs the crisis in 1900 which was presaged by Lord Kelvin mentioning what he saw as two insignificant little details 'two clouds on the horizon'. These were the inability of the Michelson and Morley experiment to detect the invisible aether that people thought must exist for light to travel through, and the prediction that hot bodies must radiate infinite amounts at short wavelengths, the ultraviolet catastrophe. The first little cloud led to special relativity and the second to quantum mechanics. These were little experimental acorns that led to huge oak trees because people, typically curious outsiders, realised they were important and worked to bring theory into line.

In the present time we really are spoiled by our new ability to look into deep space, and instead of two modest clouds on the horizon we have something more resembling the childrens' bedroom in the film poltergeist (I saw that film on Halloween) with all the furniture flying around in a mad chaos.

Consider the galaxy rotation problem. Galaxies spin far too fast for general relativity to hold them together, so huge amounts of invisible (dark) matter must be added to them in a weird halo-like formation that has no explanation. There is no experimental evidence for dark matter, and for each different galaxy the dark matter has to be added by hand in such a way as to make general relativity work. This means dark matter is ad hoc and not predictive and so we may as well attribute the rotation to lingering poltergeists. In contrast, MiHsC predicts galaxy rotation without any 'fiddling'.

Now considering cosmic expansion: this is accelerating, an act that requires a tremendous input of energy from somewhere. The problem cannot be solved by a mathematical and linguistic trick, as it is done, by simple adding a term to the Einstein field equation and calling it dark energy. It must be fundamentally understood. MiHsC explains this acceleration in an intuitive and elegant manner by disallowing any pattern, including radiation, that does not fit exactly within the Hubble scale.

There is also a telling anomaly in the Cosmic Microwave Background, which looks too smooth on the largest scales in a way that agrees exactly with the suppression of large scale patterns by MiHsC.

If we enter more controversial territory, the fertile ground where observations that can't be made to fit current theory but have not yet been proven wrong are found: the Pioneer craft slowed down as they entered deep space in agreement with MiHsC (the thermal explanation now apparently 'accepted' relies on complex models with over 2000 finite elements, and fitting parameters). The flyby anomalies, odd dynamics of spacecraft passing Earth, are also predicted by MiHsC, as are the Podkletnov and Tajmar experiments, and the EmDrive anomaly found in the UK, China and at NASA.

I hope you can see that if you take all the evidence together, then at low accelerations (in deep space), or when you change the acceleration by spinning something (flybys, Podkletnov, Tajmar experiments) or you bring the Hubble horizon artificially closer to disallow more patterns (the EmDrive) standard physics fails, but MiHsC does not.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

MiHsC vs Emdrive: updated table

I have updated the Table comparing the predictions of MiHsC with the available, fully-documented, emdrive experimental results, including a 6th result that I've just found online: that of the Cannae drive of G. Fetta (I take it as an emdrive because the grooves cut into it were found by NASA to make little difference). I've shown the predictions of the 1-dimensional MiHsC formula (which is preliminary) which assumes that accelerations are produced by the radio frequency oscillations:

F = PQ/f * ((1/w_big)-(1/w_small))              MiHsC1

where P is the input power, Q is the Q factor, f is the input frequency, w_big and w_small are the widths of the end plates. I have also shown the predictions of an alternative formula (MiHsC 2) that assumes that the accelerations are caused by photons bouncing at the cavity ends, and includes the cavity length (s) and speed of light (c):

F = PQs/c * ((1/w_big)-(1/w_small))            MiHsC2

See the new table below. The first column shows the experiment (S=Shawyer, C=Cannae and B=Brady), the other columns show the diameters of the big and small (two estimates) cavity end plates, the Q factor, power input, frequency, and the last three columns compare the predictions of MiHsC1 and MiHsC2 with the observed force (in bold):

Expt     Q       Power     Freq'   w_big   w_small      s     MiHsC1  Observed  MiHsC2
                      Watts      GHz       cm        cm          cm      (--------milliNewtons--------)
S a      5900     850       2.45       16        12.750   15.6     3.26         16            4.15
S b    45000   1000       2.45       28        12.890   34.5   76.90      80-214    216
C a     1.1e7       10.5    1.047     22        20            3.0   50.14       8-10           5.25
B a      7320       16.9    1.933     39.7     24.4       33.2     0.10       0.0912       0.22
B b    18100       16.7    1.937       "           "          33.2     0.25       0.0501       0.53
B c    22000         2.6    1.88         "           "          33.2     0.05       0.0554       0.10

MiHsC1 underestimates the Shawyer (2008) experiments (S), predicts five times the Cannae result (C), and agrees with the NASA / Brady et al. (2014) a and c results, but not case b where it overestimates by a factor of five. The Cannae drive (C) has a very different geometry to the others (the width is 22cm, the length is 1cm) and this difference is useful for testing. MiHsC2 is perhaps comparable in success, but does less well for the NASA results (the most accurate?) which may be because of the 1-d limitations of my approach, or it could mean that it is the radio frequency oscillation that is driving the acceleration that causes the Unruh radiation (MiHsC1) rather than the microwave photons physically bouncing between the plates (MiHsC2).

Thanks to Dr J. Rodal for correcting my cavity dimensions again! The source of the Cannae experiment geometry and results is:  http://web.archive.org/web/20121104025749/http://www.cannae.com/proof-of-concept/design see also the experimental results section.