I've suggested (& published in 15 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

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Quantised Inertia from Fundamentals

The uncertainty principle of Heisenberg is usually written as dp.dx~hbar and it says that the uncertainty in momentum of a quantum object (dp) times its uncertainty in position (dx) is always a constant (hbar). If a quantum object knows well where it is (dx=small), then it loses the ability to know its speed (dp=big). Conversely, if it knows its speed very well (dp=small), it'll be lost in space (dx=big). This relation from quantum mechanics, and special relativity also, are two clues that physics is due to be reworked around the concept of information. This is what quantised inertia does, joining these two pillars of physics (QM and relativity) on the large scale.

Imagine a red mass (see diagram, top part, red circle). Suddenly you put another mass on the left of it (the black circle). The uncertainty of position of the red mass is shown by the black quadrilateral around it. The red mass can see a large amount of empty space up, down and rightwards (forgetting directions perpendicular to the page for now) so its uncertainty in position (dx) is large in those directions because it cannot position itself well in empty space. However, it can see less far into space to the left because the other mass blocks its view, so its uncertainty of position that way (dx) is lower. The quadrilateral represents dx in each direction. It is skewed outwards to the up, down and right where dx is large, and skewed in to the left where dx is small. Therefore, according to Heisenberg, the quadrilateral showing the uncertainty in momentum has to be the opposite: skewed out to the left and skewed in for the other directions (see the blue envelope). Since momentum involves speed, this predicts that it is statistically or quantum mechanically more likely that the object will move to the left. In a formal derivation I have shown this not only looks like gravity but predicts it (see reference below).


Now, as the red object approaches the black one (see lower panel) its uncertainty in position (dx) to the left gets ever smaller, so dp must increase and the red object must accelerate. "Aha!" Says the other great fundamental pillar of physics: relativity, "I now become relevant!". Since the red object is now accelerating away from the space to the right, information from far to the right cannot get to old Red, and a horizon forms (the black line) beyond which is unknowable space for Red. This Rindler horizon is like the black mass. It blocks Red's view and so Red's uncertainty in position to the right reduces (dx, see the black quadrilateral contract from the right) and so the uncertainty in momentum to the right increases (see the blue quadrilateral now extends further to the right). Red now has a chance of moving both left and right and this has the effect of cancelling some of its initial acceleration towards the black mass. This looks like inertia, and indeed it predicts quantised inertia (see reference below).

In this way, you can derive something that looks like quantised inertia (if you consider also the cosmic horizon) and gravity, just by allowing quantum mechanics and relativity to mix at large scales. The whole package could be called horizon mechanics. The word 'horizon' from relativity, the 'mechanics' from the quantum side. As a happy side effect, quantised inertia or horizon mechanics solves a lot of problems in physics that you may have heard of: it explains cosmic acceleration, predicts galaxy rotation without dark matter, and its redshift dependence, and predicts the emdrive. These successes should not be sneezed at, representing 96% of the cosmos, and with the emdrive practically offering a new kind of propulsion. Oddly enough, for a theory intended to replace general relativity, the behaviour I have just described looks quite tensor-ish..

References

McCulloch, M.E., 2016. Quantised inertia from relativity & the uncertainty principle, EPL, 115, 69001. ResearchGate preprintarXiv preprint

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Easter Thank Yous

Rather than criticising theorists that in my opinion are doing things wrong, which is negative, exhausting and would take far too long :) it is more positive to thank those that I admire and who have inspired me in some technical way. I started this list a while ago and neglected to publish it. I have recently added to it, so here it is:

First of all: John Anderson, the co-discoverer of various spacecraft 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 rare, and is a gift for a data-driven theorist like me.

Although the influence is not direct, I cannot not mention Stephen Fulling, Paul Davies, Bill Unruh and Stephen Hawking (with help from Zeldovitch, Starobinksy & Bekenstein). The discoverers of Hawking-Unruh radiation, without whom Quantised Inertia (QI) / MiHsC would not be possible.

Haisch, Rueda and Puthoff who in 1994 proposed the first model (stochastic electrodynamics) for how inertial mass might be caused by the zero point field (paper), a model 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 the way to go, but wrong (it needs a arbitrary cutoff) and this inspired me towards QI/MiHsC and an asymmetric Casimir effect (aCe) which needs no cut-off. I am thrilled and honoured to now be in email contact with Hal Puthoff.

Mordehai Milgrom, who first suggested that physical laws might be wrong at low acceleration and invented MoND in 1983. Milgrom also speculated on a link between MoND and Unruh radiation but wasn't specific, and then discounted the possibility in 1999 saying Unruh radiation was isotropic so could not generate a force. Although MoND is a huge step up from dark matter, it is not as good as MiHsC because it lacks a specific model and needs a number to be input by hand (QI/MiHsC predicts this number by itself). However, 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.

Martin Tajmar who has the rare mix of being open-minded enough to test new anomalies while also being professional about it, and he brings much needed respectability to anomalous experiments. Also, like me, he is lucky enough to be married to a South Korean.

Scarpa et al. (2007) who wrote a brilliant paper on globular clusters (published at the first crisis in cosmology conference) that provided the first empirical evidence I was aware of that dark matter, which I didn't believe anyway, was wrong. The data also shows that QI/MiHsC, which depends on local accelerations, and not MoND which depends on external ones, was the answer.

Stacy McGaugh, who I met at my first astrophysics conference on 'Alternative Gravities' in Edinburgh in 2006, and who was the only one at the workshop who seemed to consider MiHsC seriously. He has been kind enough to send me stellar data from time to time, and I hope he will actually cite me someday! He has recently also co-published important results that falsify dark matter.

Jaume Gine, with whom I published the first collaborative paper on QI/MiHsC in 2016. This joint-paper was submitted to so many journals over a couple of years that I'm grateful for both his input and perseverence. The first paper on QI/MiHsC by another person solo was also recently published by Keith Pickering, and takes a refreshingly modified approach (here). Also, Prof Jose Perez-Diaz, who came to see me last year for a few months, and I enjoyed our many discussions. He is now trying to detect QI/MiHsC using a LEMdrive arrangement.

John Dorman who wrote the first, and incisively entertaining, review of my book, a review that struck truer to home than may be apparent from outside, since I sometimes feel just like a boxer in the ring. I now have it blue-tacked on my study wall. He has been especially quick to understand the central importance of horizons and suggested a new name for the theory: 'horizon mechanics'. This name could be used in future if and when gravity is incorporated, since 'mechanics' implies a complete system.

Finally to go back in time again: I submitted my first paper on MiHsC to the prestigious journal MNRAS in 2006, and fully expected to be rejected since I'd never submitted on astrophysics before (only ocean physics up till then). 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 at the time). If this first paper had been rejected I may have given up.

These are only some of the inspiring folk and someday I'll make a complete list. Thanks to all. Happy Easter!

Thursday, 23 March 2017

New Evidence at High Redshift

One of the unique and testable predictions of MiHsC / quantised inertia is that the dynamics of galaxies should depend on the size of the observable universe. This is because it predicts a cosmic minimum allowed acceleration of 2c^2/Cosmicscale. Why is this? Well, the Unruh waves seen by an object and that (in QI) cause its inertial mass, lengthen as the object's acceleration reduces and you can't have an acceleration that gives you Unruh waves that are too big to resonate in the cosmos. So if you imagine running the cosmos backwards, as the cosmic scale shrinks, more Unruh waves would be disallowed (as in the narrow end of the emdrive), inertial mass goes down, centrifugal forces decrease and so galaxies need faster rotation to be dynamically balanced. Therefore, QI predicts that in the past galaxies should have been forced to spin faster (everything else being equal).

Many people online alerted me to a paper that has just been published in Nature (Genzel et al., 2017) that supports this prediction. The paper looked at six massive galaxies so far away from us that we are looking at them many billions of years ago when the observable universe was much less than its present size, and, sure enough, they spin faster! To compare QI with the data, I have plotted the preliminary graph below.


It shows along the x axis the observed acceleration of these ancient galaxies, determined from Doppler measurements of their stars' orbital speed (a=v^2/r) and along the y axis the minimum acceleration predicted by quantised inertia (a=2c^2/cosmicscale). The QI vs observation comparison for the six galaxies is shown by the black squares and the numbers next to them show the redshift of each galaxy. The redshift (denoted Z) is a measurement of distance. Erwin Hubble found that the further away galaxies are from us, the faster they are receding from us, and so their light is stretched in a Doppler sense and is redshifted. So redshift is proportional to distance. The redshifts of the galaxies in this study ranged from Z=0.854, bottom left in the plot, at which the cosmos was 54% its present size to Z = 2.383, centre right, for which the cosmos was pretty cramped at 30% its present size (the formula for the size of the cosmos at redshift Z is SizeThen=SizeNow/(1+Z).

Quantised inertia predicts clearly that the acceleration increases with redshift, just as observed. The diagonal line shows where the points should lie if agreement was exact. Although the points are slightly above the line this is not a huge worry since the data is so uncertain. The uncertainty in the observed acceleration is probably something like 40% (looking at the scatter plots in Genzel et al. I've assumed a 20% error in the velocities they measured, and a=v^2/r). I have not plotted error bars yet because it'll take time to work out properly what they are. The two highest redshift galaxies are obviously quite aberrant, and this shows that the data is not yet good enough to be conclusive.

So in a preliminary way, and error-bars pending, the graph shows that QI predicts the newly-observed increase in galaxy rotation in the distant past. Given the uncertainties, more data is urgently needed to confirm this. As far as I know, quantised inertia is the only theory that predicted this observed behaviour.

References

Genzel et al., 2017. Nature, 543, 397–401 (16 March 2017) http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v543/n7645/abs/nature21685.html

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Plutophysia

Once upon a long time ago there was a land called Plutophysia and it was ruled by General R. Tivity. The General, in his salad days, had developed quite a reputation for predicting the weather, and indeed for some phenomena he had skill. When he had said "Today it will rain!" it always did. When he said "Go to the beach" everyone went.

Then one day a strange apparition appeared: a vast swirling column of wind and dust which knocked down a grain silo. The country folk came to the General and described the phenomenon. The General, with perfect confidence said
"Ah yes. It is caused by an invisible wind God: a Chindi!"
and he directed his scientists to look for these wind Gods. Egon, the lead scientist scratched his head, and then other parts of his body, as he tried to think. Nothing occurred to him. Eventually, some leaders of industry came to him and said
"We have a machine that can detect wind Gods, but it is very expensive".
"Never mind!" said Egon "I have the General's ear!"
"Having his purse would be better.." said the industrialists.
"The two are connected" said Egon and sure enough before long there was a fine industry building machines to detect the Wind Gods. This went on for some time, because invisible wind Gods are difficult to detect.

After several decades of waiting, the folk of Plutophysia became fed up since many farms had been torn apart by the phenomena. They were also tired of hearing the words 'wind God', and the scientists and industrialists were getting so fat that they had to carry them around in wheelbarrows. One day an unimpressive scruff from The Shire was brought in to see the old General and said
"General, I can predict these swirls of wind! They are caused by heating of air near the ground which rises".
The General said "What is this idiot babbling about? What are heat and air?".
But the scruff insisted
"I can predict they all occur at the hottest times. I have the data to prove it! Furthermore we can make flying machines based on this idea and move away to a better place..".
The General said "Enough!" and looked to his industrial advisors and top scientists.
"What say you to this young miscreant?".
They conferred "We would say sire that he is a dangerous lunatic and it would be best to lock him away from the general public lest your reputation for weather prediction be called into question."
The General decided quickly.
"Quite right. Guards! Put him in jail. Oh, and burn that data will you? Nasty profit-less stuff to have lying around".

Some wise people complained at this insult to free speech and scientific inquiry. Most eventually forgot about it so as not to lose their jobs in the wind-God detector machine factories. Some did not forget and also ended up in gaol. So Plutophysia spent all its money on the machines and was ruined. In the end all that was left was a huge ring of machines surrounding the broken farms, and a few old codgers living by the shattered remains of a prison, but building an air balloon..

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Horizon Drive 1.0

Horizons are a prediction of general relativity. The first theoretical example was the idea of a black hole in which the gravity is so strong that light and therefore information cannot escape. So the black holes are surrounded by an event horizon, a boundary between what can be seen and what can't: the inside. This horizon not been seen directly, but the matter spiraling in towards the horizon emits heat due to friction (the accretion disc) and emits radiation, and that has been seen. Another kind of horizon occurs at the edge of the cosmos, since beyond that edge stars are moving away from us at a speed faster than light and so information from them cannot get to us: a cosmic horizon.

Lest you think that horizons are difficult to get to, I can assure you that there's no need to take part in a kamikaze mission into a black hole or to travel to the cosmic edge. Horizons are everywhere. If you accelerate to the right, then information from far to the left, limited to the speed of light, can't catch up with you, so a so-called Rindler horizon forms to your left. You can make your own horizon, at home, just by moving your hand. Quantised inertia comes from assuming that this horizon damps the zero point field, making it non-uniform and pulling your hand back against its initial acceleration. Quantum mechanics (zpf) and relativity (horizons) co-operate here to make quantised inertia which predicts inertial mass and, by the way, the 96% of the cosmos that standard physics cannot (see the orange bit in the pie chart below: an unsubtle way to make the point, but mainstream physics ignores this).

A common feature of all these horizons is that they attract. Black holes do by definition, though the evidence for them is not direct. The cosmic horizon also attracts everything towards it. Evidence for that was found by Riess and Perlmutter (1999): the famous cosmic acceleration (quantised inertia shows why). The Rindler horizon pulls you back against any acceleration and in this way, quantised inertia predicts inertial mass.

So, the obvious "spread-mankind-thru-the-galaxy" question is, can we make synthetic horizons wherever we want and make spaceships move without fuel? I think so. The first evidence I can mention to back this up is the Casimir effect, which was first demonstrated practically in 1997 by Lamoreaux. Two parallel metal plates act as horizons, damping the zero point field (zpf) between them so there's less zpf pushing out and more zpf outside pushing them together. Energy and movement from what was supposed to be 'nothing'. In my opinion the emdrive is the second example. My evidence for that is that quantised inertia predicts it by assuming that the metal walls of the cavity damp the zero point field more at its narrow end, so the cavity moves that way, almost as if it is moving down a hill. Quantised inertia (QI, MiHsC) predicts the observed thrusts well.

It is important to note that you can't use any old cavity here. If you want to change the inertial mass, or move, an object, then the metal shape you use must be of a size that damps the wavelength of the Unruh waves that the object will see. The higher the acceleration, the shorter the waves. In the emdrive the photons are accelerating so fast that the Unruh waves they see are of similar size to the cavity. If you put a snail in there, or indeed anything travelling at sub-light speed, they'll see Unruh waves far longer than the cavity and there'll be no effect on their inertia or motion. Most accelerations we know about 'see' Unruh waves light years long (associated with horizons light-years away) so to make a horizon drive you need to have a part of the engine hyper-accelerated (the acceleration core, see circle on the right, in the schematic below) and a metal structure to damp Unruh waves asymmetrically. This 'damper' is the structure on the left and it could be fractal, as shown, to damp Unruh waves across a greater range of accelerations. The core is predicted by QI to move left:

The emdrive does this with photons resonating back and forth, but there are many other possible ways to make a hyper-accelerated core: spinning discs, photons in fibre-optic loops (LEMdrive), plasmons propagating round sharp corners, electron jumps at superconducting transitions (Podkletnov, Poher), even sonoluminescence. Practical physicists will know of many more possibilities. You then just need an asymmetrical metal structure of the right size to damp the Unruh field and the core will move anomalously.

Quantised inertia predicts a entirely new field of horizon engineering. Ultimately it may provide technology like the space-time engineering used to build The Way in Greg Bear's brilliant novel Eon. Nature in my view is not made of old-fashioned waves and particles, but of information and horizons and the evidence is pilling up that this is true (see my papers).

References

McCulloch, M.E., 2013. Inertia from an asymmetric Casimir effect. EPL, 101, 59001 (see discussion). https://arxiv.org/abs/1302.2775

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Strings, loops and quantised inertia

I've just read an interesting, but ultimately unsatisfying article in New Scientist about string theory and loop quantum gravity and how these two theories might agree with each other. This agreement may be a great mathematical achievement, but it is only that, because neither theory is testable.

I have blogged about string theory before (here). It imagines every particle in nature is made of a string (in 11-dimensions) and the waves on the string determine the properties of the particle. I admire its ambition, since it tries to explain all the particles, including the graviton, the particle assumed to be responsible for gravity, and tries to be a theory of everything, but it is really a theory of nothing, since it has so many variations you can pick whatever version agrees with what you are looking at, and it makes no specific testable predictions. The one sort-of prediction made, supersymmetry, has now been falsified by the LHC (see here).

Loop quantum gravity is the other popular theory and it is simpler and bolder. A great simplification of Einstein was that he made space-time dependent on the mass within it. A bit like making the stage one of the actors in a play. He did this because space-time is something you cannot directly see anyway, so it's fair game for tweaking and this process means that general relativity is neatly 'background independent': the background space-time is determined by the mass. Loop quantum gravity continues this simplification by saying that spacetime is quantised and so, as in commercial airflight, there is a minimum distance you can travel. Loop quantum gravity is neat but has not yet made a good testable prediction. In the article they claim bouncing black holes might be a test, and there are a lot of 'may's and 'might's, but this is not the same as a controllable lab test: how can you be sure you are seeing a bouncing black hole from afar and not a million other possibilities?

Neither of these theories address the huge observations anomalies we can see including anomalous galaxy rotation and cosmic acceleration which are crying out for attention. Both theories focus on the big bang and distant black holes, as if they are afraid of a more down-to-Earth test. Common sense says we need to learn to fix the bathroom tap (eg: galaxy rotation, flybys, emdrive) before we tackle the plumbing on Pluto (eg: the big bang and black holes).

There is a theory that in some sense looks a bit like both these, but it has not come from a theoretical approach. It has come from paying attention to the anomalous observations that the mainstream ignore. This theory is MiHsC/quantised inertia/horizon mechanics (three names, take your pick!). In this theory, incomplete as yet, particle properties (inertial mass) depend on whether the Unruh waves they can see fit inside horizons. This is similar to string theory's waves on strings, but without needing to invent new waves and seven new dimensions! Quantised inertia also has the background independence of loop quantum gravity in that the behaviour of masses determines their space: an observer's acceleration creates horizons that determine what space is for that observer and that leads back to mass. Plus quantised inertia has no lack of tests, predicting galaxy rotation, its redshift dependence and cosmic acceleration perfectly and simply.

In summary, the New Scientist article is interesting and informative, but far too theoretical, as is all of mainstream physics. Too much theory is a mistake: history shows that new physics always comes from thinking about new observations, because the cosmos' imagination is far better than man's.

References

Cartright, J., 2017. When loops become strings. New Scientist, 11th March 2017. 

Monday, 27 February 2017

The Range of Quantised Inertia

I've just finished teaching my Space Exploration module at the University of Plymouth. The useful thing about teaching is that it renews knowledge and helps one to view the subject as a whole. Of course, I gave a research lecture on quantised inertia (QI) and made a useful new summary plot for it, just to show the range of anomalies or phenomena in physics that can be explained and predicted by quantised inertia, and not by standard physics. The plot below shows on the x axis the scale of the phenomenon (in a qualitative manner), from the sub-atomic proton radius anomaly on the left to the oddities at the cosmic scale on the right. The y axis shows the accelerations within the phenomena from the infinitesimal cosmic accelerations at the bottom to the emdrive full of resonating microwaves at the top. The text boxes show all the anomalies QI predicts. I have published all these agreements, apart from Proxima Centauri & the proton radius anomaly, in mainstream journals. This is not to say I can confirm all these anomalies, and some of my analyses are incomplete (eg: for the flybys), but taken together they build a very strong empirical argument for quantised inertia. What other coherent theory can do all this? None.

Poor old standard physics does not predict any of these phenomena without inventing arbitrary exotic matter and arbitrary new physics to go with it: like the awful dark matter hypothesis which has now been falsified, for example by this paper. The anomalies in the plot are not a small problem either: they represent 96% of the cosmos! QI needs only a relatively small, if fundamental, tweak to standard physics to predict them all. All you have to do is allow the horizons made by relativity to 'damp' the quantum vacuum, making inertial mass as a side product. This is very satisfying and goes some way to reuniting the bifurcation in physics produced by Einstein when he sent the subject off onto the contradictory quantum and relativistic trajectories. Most physicists prefer to add bits to existing physics rather than tweak the equations that already exist, but QI tweaks those equations very very slightly, and in a way that does not violate any data, and, as the plot shows, it predicts a lot more that way.

References

To see how quantised inertia explains these phenomena, follow these links to the published papers /preprints::

Emdrive, Tajmar effect, Pioneer anomaly, Flyby anomaly, dwarf galaxy rotation, galaxy/cluster rotation, cosmic acceleration, low-l CMB anomaly.