I chose the title Physics from the Edge because the theory of inertia I have suggested (MiHsC) assumes that local inertia is affected by the far-off Hubble-edge. My webpage is here, I've written a book called Physics from the Edge and I'm on twitter here: @memcculloch

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Two body thought experiment

Imagine there are two masses, alone in the cosmos. We could call them A and B but I'm tired of Alice and Bob, so let's call them Amy and Sheldon and let's assume, that Ernst Mach was right and that they cannot deduce their acceleration relative to that unmeasurable concept 'absolute space', and can only deduce their acceleration with respect to each other. How romantic! Here they are, and I'm assuming they're wearing futuristic transparent plastic shields (a la Galaxy Quest) to keep them alive in space:

Now let's imagine that Sheldon has a jet pack. It's just the kind of thing Sheldon would have in such a circumstance. Now he fires it and accelerates to the right with respect to Amy. Physics sees this relative acceleration and decides to form a Rindler horizon to Sheldon's left and according to MiHsC this damps the Unruh radiation on the left side of him so he feels more radiation pressure from the right than the left and that pushes him back a little against his acceleration to the right. "Oh, yes", drawls Sheldon, "that's Mike's quaint little explanation for inertia isn't it? I deduce that Mike's writing this story". Very clever Sheldon, but what about Amy? Physics sees Amy accelerating to the left with respect to Sheldon and puts a Rindler horizon to Amy's right which damps the Unruh radiation there and drags her to the right. Oddly enough, Amy is now following Sheldon's motion! "This is very annoying" thinks Amy since she's trying to play hard to get (difficult enough with Sheldon already!), but she is willing to admit, being a member of the fair sex, that this is logical in the MiHsCian world.

What all of this means is that when you consider Mach and MiHsC, and you have two bodies side by side in an empty universe. If you move one, the other will move to follow it. If you have three bodies though, it won't be the same since the mutual accelerations are now more complex, so that if Howard and his turtleneck was there as well, then Amy would be less sensitive to Sheldon's movements and could play hard to get more successfully. This is what is predicted by MiHsC for this contrived situation.

So where's the evidence? Well, in our far more complex world it is difficult to set this experiment up, but in my opinion an inkling of this occurred when Martin Tajmar span his supercooled disc and a nearby accelerometer moved with the disc without frictional contact, rather similar to the way that Amy moved with Sheldon in the thought experiment. Indeed MiHsC predicts these Tajmar results pretty well (McCulloch, 2011). This effect is likely to be more obvious on a cosmic scale, since objects in deep space are closer to being lone masses, and it has been found recently for example that quasar and galaxy spins are aligned.


McCulloch, M.E., 2011. The Tajmar effect from quantised inertia. EPL, 95, 39002. arXiv

Monday, 31 August 2015

Why MiHsC is Compelling

One of the things I'd most like to convince physicists of is that MiHsC is fantastically compelling compared to theories like dark matter, dark energy and, say, string theory. To see why, consider the most famous anomaly in physics: the galaxy rotation problem. The outer edges of disc galaxies spin too fast to be held in by the gravity of the small amount of visible matter we can see in the middle. What is not well known, and which was first pointed out by Milgrom, is that the misbehaviour of the stars always starts at the radius from the galactic centre where the rotational acceleration of the stars falls below a critical value, about: 2x10^-10 m/s^2. This critical radius is different for each galaxy, but the critical acceleration is always the same, for globular clusters too (which cannot contain dark matter, by the way) and this is unlikely to be a coincidence.

There is no physical reason why invisible (dark matter) should suddenly appear at this critical acceleration and so it has to be added arbitrarily rather like the aether of the 19th Century or Descartes vortices of the 17th, but if you assume that inertia is caused by Unruh radiation, as MiHsC does, then this all makes sense, because at just this critical acceleration the Unruh waves get long enough (they get longer as accelerations decrease) to be disallowed because they do not fit exactly within the Hubble scale. In MiHsC the cosmos is modeled like a drum, in that only certain wavelengths can exist in it, those with nodes (where the waves' amplitude is zero) at the edge (this is because partial waves would allow us to infer what lies beyond the Hubble horizon, a logical absurdity). In a disc galaxy this means that Unruh waves for stars at the galactic edge are too long to fit, and those stars loose inertial mass because of MiHsC, so that the centrifugal force that would otherwise blow the galaxy apart reduces, and the stars stay nicely bound despite the apparent lack of gravitating matter.

It's always good if theories that have been designed to fix one problem, also fix other ones for free, and MiHsC does that: it predicts the cosmic acceleration discovered in 1999 by Riess and Perlmutter et al without needing any arbitrary dark energy to be added. It also explains a whole plethora of other embarrassing anomalies that have been brushed under the carpet recently, such as the flyby anomalies, the Pioneer anomalies, the Podkletnov and Tajmar effects, the anomalous decrease of power in the cosmic microwave background at large scales, the Tully-Fisher relation and the emdrive, and these are only the anomalies I've managed to publish papers on. There are many more that I suspect can be explained by MiHsC but haven't managed to prove yet, eg: galactic jets, globular clusters.

So to conclude: MiHsC is simple, has a logical philosophy to it, is compelling in the way mentioned above, and agrees with more data than does the standard model (without invisible matter having to be added). I would ask physicists to consider these points without prejudice. There is a lot of scope in MiHsC for development, and they could certainly improve on the mathematical/computational techniques that I have used so far.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

So hard to create, so easy to destroy

One of the sadnesses in suggesting something new is people trying to erase or forbid it. I've already been blacklisted by the arXiv, as have many others I believe, for nothing more than daring to think differently, and now there's an minor online MiHsC-war going on with some people adding very well-written wikipedia pages on MiHsC (not necessarily believing MiHsC, but motivated to present the full range of ideas), and others trying to delete all mention of it, always anonymously and without citing any experimental counter-evidence. In response I said this on twitter recently: "To online deletors of ideas: what'll you say in the retirement home? Will you boast of the thoughts you silenced? The possible futures you erased?"

It is possible for a paradigm to survive not because it is more successful, but because it deletes the alternatives, and this is what an unscientific minority of dark matter supporters are doing. One of the safest criteria by which to identify the wrong side in any period of history is to see who is erasing information (burning books) because they can't engage in debate. Information creators always win in the long term.

Friday, 7 August 2015

The Emdrive Energy Paradox

As always, treat this blog entry with due skepticism: I'm thinking aloud in the hope of constructive feedback.

The emdrive energy paradox was found and is discussed nicely by frobnicat (from the NSF forum) in the emdrive wiki reference below. The problem is as follows. The rate of electrical energy input to the emdrive is constant so the total energy put in goes up linearly with time, but the kinetic energy (KE) stored and available for extraction from the emdrive's motion is: KE = 1/2mv^2 and since the acceleration is constant, v is a linear function of time so KE depends on t^2. Eventually, at high enough speeds, the KE exceeds what we put in! Therefore there must be a new source of energy here, one which provides more energy at higher speed. How is this possible?

It's not possible using standard physics, but is using MiHsC which considers the zero point field. The force or thrust predicted by MiHsC is like an inertial force (in fact, I claim it is the inertial force, see McCulloch, 2013) and a characteristic of inertia is that no matter what the speed of an object is, its resistance to acceleration, its inertia, is the same (This fits with special relativity's insistence that the laws of physics should be independent of speed, which is a relative thing). The MiHsC/inertial force is then also like whatever force is driving the emdrive, since no matter what the emdrive's speed is, the force on it seems always the same. This last point is an increasingly solid observation: as frobnicat's points out on the NSF reference below, the emdrive has been tried in different places and times and if its behaviour depended on something so meaningless (after Einstein) as 'speed' then it would have given very different results at different times since the Earth is moving with respect to everything else, and spinning.

So where does this new energy come from? To be more mechanistic about it, the MiHsC paradigm says that the asymmetric structure of the cavity makes a gradient in the density of Unruh radiation (zero point energy) and that this gradient is the new source of energy. For more detail see here or  here. New sources of energy always cause an uproar, but in just this way MiHsC predicts inertial mass, galaxy rotation, cosmic acceleraton & the emdrive quite well. I did suggest a more direct test for the mechanics of this (if applied on the nanoscale) here.


Emdrive wiki: http://emdrive.wiki/Energy_Conservation

McCulloch, M.E., 2013. Inertia from an asymmetric Casimir effect. EPL, 101, 59001. arxiv

McCulloch, 2015. Energy from swastika-shaped rotors. Progress in Physics, 11, 2, 139-140. pdf

Monday, 3 August 2015

Observations that dark matter can't explain

Someone recently told me there's a new contender for dark matter, a 'new kind of pion', as well as the WIMPs and axions and assorted possibilities that have been suggested before and haven't been seen, so I thought I'd explain why I don't believe there is any form of exotic dark matter in the amounts needed to hold galaxies together.

First, as we all know by now, the rotational velocities of stars around galaxies are too great for them to be held in by the gravity of the mass we can see in them, hence the ad hoc addition of 'dark' matter. Anything ad hoc is bad science in the first place, but the crucial observation here is that this discrepancy always starts at the galactic radius where the stars' rotational acceleration drops below a critical acceleration of 2x10^-10 m/s^2 (Milgrom, 1983). It is difficult to hypothesize any type of matter that would suddenly appear at a specific low acceleration like this, but it is easy to hypothesize a direct link with Hawking-Unruh radiation because at just that crucial acceleration the waves of this radiation become equal to the Hubble scale. This is a fascinating agreement out of which arises MiHsC theory.

Second, globular clusters are smaller, bound, collections of stars usually located in a sphere around the centre of the galaxy (last week I spent some time searching the sky for them when I was on holiday in Cornwall) and wide binaries are bound stars very far apart. Both of these types of system show the same odd behaviour as the much larger galaxies that surround them: at radii where their stars fall below an acceleration of 2x10^-10 m/s^2 they start to rotate around the systems too rapidly for standard physics (Scarpa et al., 2006, Hernandez, 2012). The crucial point here is that in these cases dark matter cannot be used to fix the anomaly since it must be smooth on these scales to allow it to work on galactic scales, so you can't pack a lump of it into the globular cluster or binary system to bind it gravitationally. This implies that whatever effect is happening in globulars (ie: not dark matter!) also applies to the similarly-misbehaving galaxies (MoND theory also fails for globulars which are close to the galactic centre and so the 'external' acceleration is larger than 2x10^-10 m/s^2).

There are also more philosophical reasons for disliking dark matter: science always progresses by presenting old theories with embarrassing new data, so that those theories can be improved. What the dark matter paradigm is doing is defending an old theory by changing the 'observations' (adding unseen mass) which is a complete reversal of the scientific process and more resembles the machinations of the dark ages.

The solution, as ever, is to use crucial observations to force old entrenched theories to make themselves so complex that they collapse in ridicule under the weight of their own convolutions: I hope globular clusters and wide binaries can be useful in this respect.

"You see, the thing that really finishes a Boggart is laughter. What you need to do is force it to assume a shape that you find amusing." - J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter & the Prisoner of Azkaban).


Milgrom, M., 1983. A modification of the Newtonian dynamics as a possible alternative to the hidden mass hypothesis. Astrophys. J., 270, 365.

Scarpa et al, 2006. Globular clusters as a test for gravity in the weak acceleration regime. Proceedings of the 1st crisis in cosmology conference. http://arxiv.org/abs/astro-ph/0601581

Hernandez, X., M.A. Jimenez, C.Allen, 2012. Wide binaries as a critical test of classical grvaity. http://arxiv.org/abs/1105.1873

McCulloch, M.E., 2012. Testing quantised inertia on galactic scales. Astrophys. Space Sci., 342, 575-578. http://arxiv.org/abs/1207.7007

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

MiHsC and EmDrive: Clarification

It seems, after several comments I've received, that the way MiHsC (may) work on the emdrive is easily misunderstood (including by me, so I've just rewritten this blog again!). Anyway, here is an attempt to clarify it and explain why I think you get a push consistently towards the narrow end from MiHsC and why, although new physics, it is at least perfectly self-consistent. This is based on the maths in my published paper (see the reference below).

Imagine a microwave photon bouncing from end to end of the emdrive cavity (see the diagram below). As the photon goes from the narrow end to the wide end (see the lower arrows) the number of allowed Unruh waves increases because of MiHsC (more are allowed on the right because the cavity is wider) so the photon's inertial mass increases (so the right hand arrow is thicker). This means that MiHsC has disturbed momentum conservation, which can only be satisfied by applying a leftwards force to slow the photon down (its speed is represented by the arrows' length).
As the photon bounces off the right end plate and goes leftward again (upper arrows) it looses inertial mass by MiHsC (the upper left hand arrow is thinner) so the only way to satisfy momentum conservation is again to apply a leftward force to speed the photon up (the left hand arrow is longer). In both cases, to satisfy both MiHsC-induced mass changes and the conservation of momentum, a new force must appear towards the narrow end. Since the momentum at both ends is the same, the photon pressure on the end walls cancels (see this previous post). This new thrust predicted by MiHsC agrees quite well with the emdrive data (see the reference below).


McCulloch, M.E., 2015. Can the emdrive be explained by quantised inertia? Progress in Physics, 11, 1, 78-80. Link

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Ode to MiHsC

A more lighthearted summary of MiHsC, occasionally veering into a Yorkshire accent:

Inertia means you coast along, no-one ever explained the why,
but when you accelerate, a horizon opens behind you as you fly.

The horizon's like a black hole's, so it gonna be damn hot.
You'll see Unruh-heat, if accelerating, but nowt at all if not.

Heat is waves, and MiHsC theory says: they must fit from you to the horizon
because partial waves would let you see behind Mach's forbidden curtain.

So from behind you, horizonward, there'll be fewer waves impacting
The waves in front'll push you back, just as inertia's long been acting

OK so far, but can MiHsC say why in deep space physics fails?
In that slow realm the waves are as long as Hubble's cosmic scales.

So there MiHsC disallows more waves and inertial mass collapses.
Quite a shock, but maybe welcome if you've 'et too many biscuits.

Galaxies spin so fast the centrifugal force should explode 'em all.
MiHsC reduces this inertial force just right: it's really on the ball.

Cosmic acceleration is predicted since before accelerations disappear,
the Unruh waves grow too long to fit into Hubble's sphere.

Dark matter is like Ptolemy's epicycles on steroids, by computer.
MiHsC works with just a few lines, on a piece of paper.