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

Friday, 21 February 2014

The cosmos is a black hole?

When I was writing the first paper proposing MiHsC (a model for inertia) in 2006 I played around briefly in the discussion section with black holes. Hawking (1974) said that more massive black holes (mass=M) have a lower temperature (so T=K/M, where K is a constant). Wien (1893) said that an object of temperature T emits radiation of wavelength L, and T=k/L (k being another constant). These formulae mean that the more massive the black hole, the longer the wavelength of Hawking radiation it emits.

However, we can't see beyond the Hubble-scale so waves longer than this should not exist (following Ernst Mach). This means that a black hole can't be so massive that the Hawking radiation it emits is bigger than the observable universe. I showed that this predicts a maximum black hole mass of about 10^52 kg and put this into the paper as a curiosity. A year later I read that the mass of the observable universe is about 10^52 kg, with a large error bar. Does this agreement imply that the universe is a black hole? Later, I turned this model inside out and had the cosmos as a black hole emitting radiation inwards from its edge whose wavelengths had to fit exactly into the cosmos (in the same way as the Unruh waves in MiHsC have to) and a toy cosmology was born. I wrote a paper on it and went to the Cosmo-2008 conference in Wisconsin, funded by the Royal Astronomical Society and the Institute of Physics to present it (you can still find my Cosmo-08 .ppt slides on the web).

For six years I have been submitting this cosmology paper, having it rejected, and working to improve it, and I have gradually realised that the model predicts that the universe gains mass as it expands, like the old Steady State Theory of Sir Fred Hoyle. That theory was discredited when the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB) showed that the early universe was hot. The Steady State Theory couldn't explain that and the rival Big Bang Theory could. The Hubble-scale Casimir effect model though, predicts that the universe must have been hotter when it was smaller, so it produces a Steady State Theory that predicts a Cosmic Microwave Background too.

Cosmology is notoriously data-poor so, since I like to stay close to the data, in the paper I also show that if you apply the dis-allowal of longer waves (the Hubble-scale Casimir effect of MiHsC) to patterns of variation in the cosmos, this predicts a drop-off of variation on the largest scales that agrees well with the 'low-l CMB anomaly' seen in the recent Planck satellite data.

In the paper I also describe an alternative way to think about the Hubble-scale Casimir effect, or 'cosmic seiche' of MiHsC that is more natural. Happily, the journal 'Galaxies' is open access, so a pdf of the paper can be found at the link below:

References

McCulloch, M.E., 2014. A toy cosmology using a Hubble-scale Casimir effect. Galaxies, 2(1), 81-88. Abstract and link to free pdf.

Saturday, 15 February 2014

A diversity of ideas means faster progress.

There are many dull periods in history where the suppression of new ideas held up progress. The Inquisition burned books and drove science out of southern Europe to the benefit of northerners. Nowadays, I'd like to argue that a pointless conformity in western theoretical physics is suppressing badly-needed alternatives to standard physics.

As an example: four months ago I published a paper in the scientific literature that derives gravity in a new way from quantum mechanics (see reference below). Something very new. I'm not saying I'm right, I simply don't know yet, but what I would say is that it is interesting and unique, maybe useful, and crucially: already published. I uploaded this paper to the arXiv, hoping to stimulate some useful debate, which I badly need to further build on it, and four months later anonymous people are still mulling over whether to include or reject it, as if the arXiv is its own journal.

The arXiv is a kind of 'public library' that is supposed to reflect what goes on in the scientific community and make it freely available to all, a noble goal, unless it becomes hijacked by a anonymous group with a bias, in which case the arXiv becomes something else entirely: a way for a biased minority to steer the scientific community their way, circumventing the proper evidence-based scientific debate (this avoidance is useful if you have no evidence at all).

I doubt anyone from the arXiv understands the long-term negative impact of what they are doing, I'm sure they are content to be in the 'cool' crowd, but standard/current physics is provably wrong: it only predicts 4% of the cosmos, it is not even self-consistent, as Einstein knew way back in 1935. The suppression of un-cool alternatives simply delays progress, and game-changing technologies we might have had sooner will be lost, perhaps for decades.

On the other hand if the arXiv return to their job, and objectively reflect all the debates occuring in the scientific peer-reviewed literature then theoretical physics can only gain: it may even cease debating cool but untestable and useless subjects like the interior of black holes and will become evidence-based and scientific again. Inevitably this will make it more useful, practical and interesting.

My, maybe flawed, but interesting paper was published in Astrophysics and Space Science and is: here.

Saturday, 8 February 2014

What's up with the gravity constant?

I'm looking into an interesting possible anomaly in the gravitational constant, the big G that appears in Newton's gravity law: F = GMm/r^2. Gravity is a tiny force, atom for atom, but it is cumulative unlike the electromagnetic (EM) force whose positive and negative components cancel themselves out, so for large masses (M and m) and close distances (r) gravity can dominate the EM force, for example causing chairs, held together by the EM force, to collapse when sat on.

In 1798, Cavendish worked out a way to measure G. He suspended known masses at both ends of a crossbar suspended by a wire, brought another known mass closer at an angle designed to cause a rotation and measured the twist in the wire. Since he know how much force was required to twist the wire, this told him the gravitational force F between the masses and since F = GMm/r^2, and he knew the mass and distances, he was able to find G. Over the centuries, this method has been refined so that the experimental uncertainty in the values they now get for G is smaller. The problem is, the values of G determined in different labs differ several times more than their expected uncertainty, so either the experimenters have underestimated their errors or a new physical process has been revealed.

Always on the lookout for anomalies, I've had a look at some of the values of G published in the third figure in a recent Physics World article (see the reference below) and noticed that there is a weak correlation with latitude. For example, the G that was measured in Birmingham, UK (at 52^o North) was 0.05% larger than the G measured in Boulder, Colorado (at 40^o North). Although the correlation between the various values for G and the latitude is 0.74, there were only 7 values given in this Figure to go on, so I wouldn't claim significance yet.

I do wonder whether MiHsC is causing this, since the acceleration of objects on the Earth with respect to the fixed stars is lower near the poles, but my initial calculations show that the MiHsC effect seems too small. It may be that I need to learn more about what these experiments are actually doing, so I'm going to a Royal Society Workshop on the uncertainties in G at the end of this month to learn a bit more about this problem.

Reference

Cartwright, J., 2014. "The lure of G". Physics World, Vol. 27, 2, 2nd February.