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

Sunday, 22 May 2016

We learn by doing, MiHsC, emdrive

I'm always saying to my students that "The best way to learn is to do", and I always enjoy scribbling back-of-the-envelope calculations (in the manner of Hans Bethe and Enrico Fermi) so here's a quick MiHsC-emdrive calculation I did recently. Note that it is not as rigorous as my paper, it is a heuristic simplification.

It is important to have a real experiment as a basis, so I've used Shawyer's first experimental setup, with a cavity Q = 5900, power input P = 850W, cavity length L = 0.156m, wide end width = 0.16m, narrow end = 0.1275m, and I've assumed a mass of 10 kg (as you'll see this last is unimportant as it cancels out).

Step 1. Calculate the mass of light in the cavity

The time for a photon to dissipate, given Q is
T = distance/c =  QxCavityLength/c
T = 5900x0.156/3x10^8 s
T = 3.1x10^-6 s
Energy input into the cavity in this time is
E = PowerxT = 850x3.1x10^-6 = 0.0026 J
The mass (m) of the microwave energy is
m = E/c^2 = 0.0026/(3x10^8)^2 = 2.9x10^-20 kg.

Step 2. The MiHsC-acceleration of photons in the cavity

The new effect predicted by MiHsC is that photons' centre of mass is continually shifted towards the wide end. Normally, as in my paper, I would calculate the photon mass change implied by MiHsC as more Unruh waves are allowed at the wide end, increasing photon mass there in a new way. Here, in order to point out the wider connection with MiHsC-cosmology, I'm going to take a short cut and calculate photon behaviour by noting that in MiHsC, a volume (sphere) bounded by a horizon must have a minimum acceleration of
a = 2c^2/L
where L is the diameter of the sphere. If you put in the Hubble volume L = 2.6x10^26 metres, then MiHsC predicts the recently-observed cosmic acceleration (usually attributed arbitrarily to dark energy) and it also predicts the acceleration below which galaxies misbehave and their rotation (usually attributed to arbitrary dark matter). We can regard each end of the cavity as being a little Hubble sphere (introducing an error of probably a factor of two) but the acceleration of the photons along the length of the emdrive cavity is then the difference between the accelerations at the wide end (the big cosmos) and narrow end (small cosmos), which is:
a = 2c^2/Lwide - 2c^2/Lnarrow = 2x(3x10^8)^2 x (1/0.16 - 1/0.1275)
a = 2.87x10^17 m/s^2

Step 3 - By conservation of momentum

As the microwave photons are shifted rightwards by MiHsC (see the red arrows in the Figure) the cavity must shift left to conserve momentum (see the black arrow).

We can calculate the acceleration of the cavity, much smaller due to its greater mass, by differentiating the conservation of momentum:
Acceleratn of cavity x CavityMass = Light Acc x MicrowaveMass
Ac x Mc = Al x Mm
Ac = Al x Mm / Mc = 2.87x10^17 x 2.9x10^-20 / 10
Ac = 0.00083 m/s^2

Step 4 - The Predicted Force

So F = ma = 10x0.00083 = 8.4 mN (The observed force was 16 mN for this case).

I always enjoy the closure and elegance of this sort of calculation and I believe that the ability of a theory to predict something openly on a single sheet of paper speaks well for it, in contrast to theories that require adjustable parameters hidden in labyrinthine computer programs or in the small print of complex derivations. There are no such parameters here.

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Clearer Explanation of MiHsC & EMdrive

Last night I drove to the big out of town TESCO on a mercy mission to buy some fish food and I was glad I did because while walking in the fresh air into the shop, what I have been thinking about, and doing messy calculations on, over the past few days, suddenly became clear. It is a clearer way to explain my MiHsC-emdrive paper. I laughed out loud in the entrance to TESCO, but luckily they didn't lock me up.

In the emdrive the magnetron puts microwaves into the cavity. MiHsC allows more Unruh waves (greater photon inertial mass) at the wide end, so as new microwave energy is put into the cavity its centre of mass is continually being shifted by MiHsC towards the wide end (see diagram). To conserve momentum the cavity has to move the other way towards the narrow end (note: this needs new physics, MiHsC, not standard).

But hang on!: MiHsC is causing a huge acceleration of the microwaves of 10^18 m/s^2 (~c^2/L). The cavity is not accelerating that much the other way? Why?

Because the cavity is so much more massive. The microwaves in the cavity have a mass (given m=E/c^2) of 10^-20 kg (roughly), whereas the cavity may be 10 kg, so the acceleration of the cavity to conserve momentum can be 10^-21 times smaller, which is about 10^-3 m/s^2, implying a force (F=ma) of a few microNewtons. This is the same process as in my paper but this explanation is different and hopefully much clearer.

An analogy to this would be a small 'magic' boat that everyone is puzzled about, because when it rains it always moves forwards. How is this possible? If you look at the boat from a different angle, from the side, you become aware of the slope in its bottom which pushes rainwater to the back and moves the boat forwards. Similarly, look at the emdrive with MiHsC and the slope is a gradient in the zero point field.

The moral of this piece is clear - when I get rid of the flu I should go for more walks!

Monday, 9 May 2016

Response to John Baez: 1

Here are my responses to John Baez who wrote a blog criticising MiHsC as applied to the emdrive and other things. I sincerely appreciate his comments and they are useful since they show up what is not yet understood by the mainstream about MiHsC. Indeed, his criticisms are based mostly on a lack of understanding of MiHsC, and can be refuted. Below I have copied the most pertinent comments from his blog (in quotes and italic, see also the blog link below) and responded:

"So the inertial mass of an object is caused  by the Unruh radiation?   Okay... yup, that's certainly new.   Let me just say there's no evidence for this."

I have shown that by assuming that inertia IS caused by Unruh radiation (made non-uniform by horizons) I can suddenly predict the anomalies that have baffled mainstream physics, for example: galaxy rotation without dark matter, cosmic acceleration...etc. This constitutes evidence.

"[The Casimir effect] is a reasonably large force when the plates are a few nanometers apart, but it rapidly becomes weaker as you move them farther apart.   So now imagine they're as far apart as most distant galaxies we can see...."

This shows a misunderstanding of MiHsC. The new effects are not to do with the separation of galaxies, but due to the Unruh waves (which are very long for accelerations as low as those at the edge of galaxies) which are disallowed by the Hubble horizon. For the size argument, see my next comment.

"at rather small accelerations the Unruh effect is so tiny that the thermal radiation has wavelengths even larger than the size of the observable Universe.  That's true.  And that of course means that this effect is even more absurdly weak than in the example I gave."

In fact, I'm saying that these larger-than-Hubble-scale Unruh waves logically cannot exist. Yes, the predicted effect is usually incredibly small, but since the accelerations in the edges of galaxies are so tiny anyway, MiHsC makes a detectable difference. Also, it is not the Unruh effect alone that I am implicating in inertia but the way information horizons make the Unruh radiation non-uniform in space so that new dynamics/energy can be got out of it. An analogy for the way MiHsC does this, that I used in my book, is that horizons are selecting/deselecting or tuning Unruh waves (quantum vacuum) in a similar way to how my fingers select particular acoustic waves (nodes, notes) when I play my flute, or when a guitarist plays a guitar.

"Again, two things stand out: 1) it doesn't work like this"

I realise this is meant half-jokingly but of course it is not valid to argue that a theory is wrong, just because you believe it's wrong.

"Planck's constant - the number that shows up in every calculation in quantum mechanics - never shows up in this paper.  So McCulloch is not actually doing anything with the Unruh effect!"

Planck's constant is in there, but since E=hc/lambda and the lambda (wavelength) has been constrained via resonance to be proportional to the length of the cavity L, it is possible to write E=hc/2L and so h can be broken up and written in terms of E, c and L which is what I did implicitly in the paper.

"So his photons have mass - and on top of that, the mass changes with time: see his Equation 4!"

It is well known that photons must have inertial mass, it is just rest mass they lack. As experimental proof, light sails depend on the momentum transfer from light which requires inertial mass. Theoretically Einstein showed that energy is equivalent to inertial mass. Photons have energy, so they must have inertial mass.

I hope John Baez and others read this, and come back with a more empirical set of criticisms. That is how it works.


John Baez' blog: Link (scroll down to 'bad physics')

My MiHsC-emdrive paper on the arXiv:  https://arxiv.org/abs/1604.03449

Monday, 2 May 2016

New Emdrive Result & Unmissing Planck

A new emdrive result has just been published by the Chinese (Juan et al., 2016) and I have updated my former table (there are now 9 results, see below). Despite the negative buzz online, this Chinese result is happily consistent with all the other experiments & MiHsC (unlike their earlier 2012 results).

The Chinese measured a thrust of 0+/-3 mN (ie: somewhere between -3 and +3 mN). Using MiHsC and taking the stated power input as P = 220W, and the dimensions of L = 0.156 m, ws = 0.1275 m, wb = 0.16 m and Q as 1531 (as shown on the NSF emdrive wiki table), The MiHsC thrust formula F=(6PQL/c)*(1/(L_4ws)-(1/(L+4wb))) predicts a thrust of F = 0.26 mN, consistent with the new Juan et al. (2016) data.

Also, I gather there has been a frantic search for Planck's constant in the MiHsC formula. Planck's constant is implied in the formula, but the physical fact that the photons are resonating (tuned to fit) within the cavity means that it is possible to re-express h using E, c and L (the length of the cavity). My full response to John Baez is here.

(Thanks to Dr Rodal for pointing out that the new result was 0 not 0.7mN. When I've checked the literature it may be also that the uncertainty +/-3mN should be +/-0.7mN, but this doesn't alter the agreement).


McCulloch, M.E., 2015. Testing quantised inertia on the emdrive, EPL, 111, 2, 60005. Preprint

Yang, Juan et al., 2016. Thrust Measurement of an Independent Microwave Thruster Propulsion Device with Three-Wire Torsion Pendulum Thrust Measurement System. Journal of Propulsion Technology (in Chinese) 37 (2): 362–371.

Friday, 29 April 2016

Dark energy, inflation & emdrive

The articles that have appeared recently about MiHsC and the emdrive make a valid link with the flyby anomalies, but the clearest didactic link would be with the cosmic acceleration that MiHsC also predicts without the need for dark stuff. The following is a simplification for the purposes of explanation:

For Unruh radiation, the lower the acceleration, the longer the wavelength. So, in MiHsC, the universe's inability to support Unruh wavelengths longer than itself, because they would be unobservable, predicts a minimum possible cosmic acceleration. To support this line of thinking, the minimum acceleration predicted by MiHsC (2c^2/HubbleScale) agrees with the observed cosmic acceleration. Now imagine two universes, side by side as shown in the schematic here:

The large universe on the right has a minimum acceleration that is predicted by MiHsC to be 2c^2/BigDiameter. The universe on the left has a minimum acceleration predicted to be 2c^2/SmallDiameter (this acceleration is larger). So, if an object (a photon) goes from the big to small universe (along the red arrow) its acceleration must increase in a new way (driven by apparently new energy from MiHsC). In going from the small to big universe, the minimum acceleration must decrease. In both cases there is a net acceleration towards the small universe which is proportional to: 1/SmallDiameter - 1/BigDiameter. The emdrive is very similar, except now the horizon is given by the shape of the cavity and the small and big universes are the small and big ends of it. Conclusion: the emdrive is an asymmetric universe for its photons.

As an aside, the higher minimum acceleration predicted by MiHsC in the smaller universe, models a kind of inflation for the smaller early universe, as needed by cosmology to explain the flatness problem.

Monday, 25 April 2016

MiHsC in a Glass

Information horizons are predicted by relativity, but the point of MiHsC is that their consequences have not yet been included in physics. If you do include them, then you can explain a lot of mysteries, like galaxy rotation, cosmic acceleration, the emdrive and many others..

Imagine you have a glass of, to take a purely random example, beer, in your right hand. Someone pushes your arm and the beer glass moves to your left, the beer spills out to the right and you have to go looking for a mop. Physicists will tell you, "Oh, that's because of Newton's first law that things like to keep going at the speed they already are, so the beer is trying to maintain zero speed with respect to you ...and please pay to get my beer-stained shirt cleaned", but all that is just language, not an explanation.

What MiHsC says is that when the beer and glass accelerate to the left, logic notes that some information from far to their right, limited to the speed of light, will never catch up and an information dead-zone opens up light years away to the right, with a horizon enclosing it. The faster the acceleration, the closer the horizon. The zero point field from the point of view of the beer glass is in the form of Unruh radiation. It is usually uniform in space so energy cannot be extracted from it, but now that the beer glass has accelerated and formed a horizon, the Unruh radiation is damped by the horizon on the right hand side of the glass since some Unruh waves do not fit between the glass and the horizon (just as the zero point field is damped between two metal plates in the Casimir effect) and so more zero point field particles hit the glass of beer from the left than from the right, and it gets pushed to the right (inertia) just as in the Casimir effect more particles hit from outside the plates then in, pushing them together. You're holding the glass so your force opposes this inertia, but the beer responds to the horizon's effect on the zero point field and moves right.

MiHsC also says that this asymmetrical damping doesn't work for tiny accelerations since the Unruh waves get as long as the Hubble scale and so the Hubble horizon (a horizon formed as stars disappear from our view) starts to damp the waves equally all around, so the mechanism I've just descibed fails and so inertia collapses at low acceleration. This accounts exactly for why galaxies don't centrifugally explode like they should according to the old physics. No dark matter is needed.

No dark energy is needed either because the loss of inertial mass at low accelerations predicts a minimum acceleration for nature which looks like cosmic acceleration. The point is that MiHsC is all about information horizons making the zero point field non-uniform, so that unexpected energy can be extracted. An equivalent viewpoint that I'm working on now is that information stored on horizons can be released by 'squeezing the horizon' (an intro) but that's another blog..

A MiHsC Joke:

Traffic Officer: "Now then, Sir. Do you know you accelerated to well over the speed limit?"
MiHsCreant: "Sorry Officer. I was trying to see my Rindler horizon."

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Inspiring physicists

I think it's important to mention and thank the people who I think are doing physics the progressive way (ie: with Sagan's balanced mix of wonder and scepticism) and here's an (incomplete) list of those I admire and who have inspired me in some direct way:

First of all there's John Anderson, the discoverer or co-discoverer of the Pioneer and flyby anomalies (and more recently periodic variations in big G) without which I would have had far fewer anomalies to get me interested. I love his style because he publishes carefully analysed anomalous data and honestly points out that 'this is unexplained'. This is a gift for a data-driven theorist like me.

Haisch, Rueda and Puthoff who proposed the first model explaining how inertial mass might be caused by the zero point field in 1994, a model (see paper) that thrilled me when I first read it on a long train journey, like a chink of light would thrill someone lost in a cave. Later I decided it was brilliant, but wrong (it needs a arbitrary cutoff) and this inspired me towards MiHsC and an asymmetric Casimir effect (aCe) which needs no cut-off.

Mordehai Milgrom, who first suggested that the laws were wrong at low acceleration by inventing MoND (Modified Newtonian Dynamics) in 1983. Milgrom also vaguely speculated on a link between MoND and Unruh radiation but wasn't specific. Although MoND is a huge step up from dark matter, it is not as good as MiHsC because it needs a number to be input by hand (MiHsC predicts this number by itself) but Milgrom's papers on MoND were an inspiration to me, and he also kindly commented on (politely disagreed with) my first paper on MiHsC when I sent a draft to him.

My first anonymous astrophysics reviewer. I submitted my first paper on MiHsC to MNRAS in 2006 and fully expected to be rejected. The reviewer said they didn't exactly believe MiHsC, but it was more plausible than many alternatives which had been published, so they let it pass, to my great joy. The reviewer was also amused by my use of the word 'forecast' instead of 'prediction' (I worked at the Met Office).

Martin Tajmar, whose has a unique mix of being open-minded enough to test new anomalies while also being uber-professional about it, and he is bringing much needed respectability to the new physics. His 'Tajmar effect' was a good experimental result to test MiHsC on.

Scarpa et al, who wrote a brilliant paper on globular clusters (published at the first crisis in cosmology conference) that convinced me that dark matter was absolutely wrong. It also shows that MiHsC, which depends on local accelerations, is better than MoND, which depends on external ones.

Jaume Gine, with whom I've just published the first collaborative paper on MiHsC. This joint-paper has been submitted by both of us to so many journals over the past year that I'm grateful for his perseverence. He has suggested possible links between MiHsC and holographic physics, an approach which is bearing fruit.

Nick Cook, whose book 'The Hunt for Zero Point' has a main point that I do not believe for a nanosecond (I don't believe the US already has anti-grav technology), but the book contains so much that is interesting and relevant to MiHsC and made me feel for the first time that I wasn't alone in being fascinated by the zero point field, which, although invented by Einstein and Planck has always been, like inertia, an ignored or even taboo area of physics. MiHsC now brings them together.