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

Saturday, 23 February 2013

The Bullet Cluster

Someone on the Physics Stack Exchange usefully asked me about MiHsC and the bullet cluster, which seems to be a crucial observation that might help to decide between theories, so this is a reply for them.

I have thought about the bullet cluster before, but have been unable to get very far due to a lack of data as you'll see below. I emphasize that my thoughts on it are inconclusive so please take this as exploratory, but the application of MiHsC to the bullet cluster depends on the patterns of acceleration within them. To explain: the inertial mass of an object in MiHsC/QI depends on the mutual acceleration between it and nearby masses, so when an object passes over the spin axis of a larger body the mutual accelerations are lower, so the inertia of the smaller mass decreases by MiHsC. To conserve momentum it speeds up and bends in response to an external force more easily. I showed that this aspect of MiHsC predicts the latitude dependence of the Earth flyby anomalies quite well (see MNRAS-letters, 389(1),L57-60, free pdf available).

Light has inertial mass (it exerts radiation pressure) so it should be affected by MiHsC (but how this might fit with relativity I don't yet know). For the bullet cluster then, this means that light should bend more than expected, as if there is more matter pulling on it, in places outside the high-acceleration cluster interior and along any spin axes. Is there any coherent spin? The clusters seem rotationally symmetric around an axis along the bullet's trajectory, and looking at the famous blue-pink image, the extra apparent mass obtained from the lensing data looks to be near the 'poles' of this axis, as MiHsC might suggest if the clusters are spinning around this axis, even slightly. Are they? If someone has any data, please let me know.

Friday, 22 February 2013

Galileo's Invisible Mountains

I have recently been reading (White, 2007) about what happened when Galileo turned his telescope towards the Moon and reported mountains there. This upset people at the time since Aristotle had stated that the Moon was a perfect sphere. Christopher Clavius defended Aristotle saying that the Moon was surrounded by a "crystalline invisible layer" so it was still a perfect sphere.

Galileo's brilliant response was: "If anyone is allowed to imagine whatever he pleases, then someone could say that the Moon is surrounded by a substance that is invisible, provided that I can say that the crystal has on its outer surface some mountains that are 30 times higher than the terrestrial ones, and also invisible."

Surely no-one today would invent an invisible substance to defend a historical figure ;)


White, M., 2007. Galileo Antichrist: a biography. Phoenix Press.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

A mechanism for inertia

The paper I submitted to EPL (Europhysics Letters) before Christmas on a more specific mechanism for inertia and MiHsC, was accepted yesterday. It is now available at the journal here for free, and also on the arxiv here). The abstract:

The property of inertia has never been fully explained. A model for inertia (MiHsC or quantised inertia) has been suggested that assumes that 1) inertia is due to Unruh radiation and 2) this radiation is subject to a Hubble-scale Casimir effect. This model has no adjustable parameters and predicts the cosmic acceleration, and galaxy rotation without dark matter, suggesting that Unruh radiation indeed causes inertia, but the exact mechanism by which it does this has not been specified. The mechanism suggested here is that when an object accelerates, for example to the right, a dynamical (Rindler) event horizon forms to its left, reducing the Unruh radiation on that side by a Rindler-scale Casimir effect whereas the radiation on the other side is only slightly reduced by a Hubble-scale Casimir effect. This produces an imbalance in the radiation pressure on the object, and a net force that always opposes acceleration, like inertia. A formula for inertia is derived, and an experimental test is suggested.

Friday, 8 February 2013

Disjointed Nature

Something I'm becoming more sure about is that I do not like the curved spacetime of general relativity, because, as Mach might have put it, bent space, just like absolute space, is a "thought thing" that one cannot directly observe. I would much rather base a theory, and I have based MiHsC, on things that can be better observed. For example: masses, distances, accelerations (more robust than velocities since they are independent of the reference frame) and also boundaries like the Hubble-scale, which can be seen in the sense that they are a boundary to what can be seen.

The curved spacetime of general relativity is the ultimate product of the Newtonian or differential toolbox, the idea of a continuous field. In my opinion it has not worked because nature is full of abrupt event horizons, and I think the way forward is going to be based on observables like masses, accelerations and boundaries.