I've suggested (& published in 21 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, 25 March 2016

Why MiHsC is better than MoND

I've written a lot about why MiHsC is infinitely better than the ad hoc addition of dark matter to galaxies to make their spin agree with general relativity. There is also the empirical theory of MoND (Modified Newtonian Dynamics) which was invented by Mordehai Milgrom, in 1983. MoND is far less arbitrary than dark matter, and it fits disc galaxy rotations by empirically changing the dynamical laws at their edges. Much as I admired MoND, and it inspired me to develop MiHsC, I'd like to explain why MiHsC is much better because it doesn't need an adjustable parameter. This explanation may seem basic and obvious, but I do believe that this crucial advantage of MiHsC has not been appreciated.
Imagine you have some data in a rough line on a graph (see the crosses on the graph) that you want to explain or model. As we know we can fit a straight line through them using the formula y=mx+b where x is the horizontal co-ordinate, y is the vertical co-ordinate, m is the slope of the line and b is the offset (changing the value of b allows us to shift the line up and down to fit the data (see the red lines on the graph). Now imagine you vary b again and again (the various red lines) until the line is aligned with the data and then you choose that line (say y=mx+a0) as the correct model. Would you go around enthusing about the great theory you have? No. It predicts the data, sure, but this is not so surprising because you chose the arbitrary value of a0 to make it so. I hate criticising MoND because its so much better than dark matter and at the time it was a bold and justified attack on the standard theory, and highlighted the odd number a0, but it works like the example above, because MoND has an arbitrary constant called a0 that is set completely arbitrarily to fit the galaxy rotation data. The a0 is the same for each galaxy, true, but there is no reason given why it should be that value (usually a0=2x10^-10 m/s^2).

Now imagine a theory based on a mechanism that can only predict that y=mx+c (as a simple example) where c is the speed of light (a number which is solidly known and unfudgable) and this theory happens to fits the data first time (the blue line in the graph). This is infinitely better because no arbitrary human input is required. This then is like MiHsC, which does everything that MoND does but without the adjustable parameter. MiHsC's predictions are slightly different to MoND's. For example, MiHsC performs better for huge galaxy clusters and tiny dwarfs whereas MoND was 'tuned' with a0 for intermediate sized systems so does better for those, but both are within the uncertainty in the data, so far. Hopefully though you can see that MoND is not a theory (it's an empirical relation with an unexplained tuning parameter) whereas MiHsC is a theory and its inevitable agreement is a great advantage.

References

McCulloch, M.E., 2012. Testing quantised inertia on galactic scales. A&SS, 342, 2, 575-578. Preprint: http://arxiv.org/abs/1207.7007

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Ten Years On

It was just a bit over 10 years ago that I took the first step into the MiHsC paradigm, and my diary entry for that day is shown below. I remember excitedly sending an abstract off to the Alternative Gravities Workshop in Edinburgh, 2006, and speaking there later. I also remember being rather desperate to publish quickly for fear that someone else might have the same thought. It is quite amusing that a decade on, I'm still trying to persuade anyone at all to have the same thought! No professional physicist has understood MiHsC, as far as I know. Maybe a couple of mathematicians have.
I'm left frustrated. I've published 11 papers and a book showing that MiHsC predicts galactic rotation and cosmic acceleration and other anomalies (eg: emdrive) in a beautiful and simple way and without any ad hoc adjustable parameters. This inevitability is a huge advantage, but seems not to move people who prefer to rely on the ad hoc explanation of dark matter. I get the impression of half-pursuading physicists occasionally, only for them to vanish. Critics never mention contrary data, but complain that I 'disagree with the old theory'. I always make the point that it is OK to disagree with the old theory if you agree with the data better than the old theory, but effectively they then reiterate that I disagree with the old theory. I've found that it is very important at this point not to go mad.

The solution as ever is to predict something that dark matter cannot, and for that reason I've just submitted a paper on Milky Way dwarf satellite galaxies which, as usual, spin far faster than they should and the amounts of dark matter needed to hold them together are jaw-droppingly ridiculous. Also, yesterday feeling myself to be rather in a vacuum, or solitary confinement, I contacted Prof Stacy McGaugh who I met at the Alternative Gravity Workshop, asking for some, any, feedback. He asked me for a MiHsC prediction and I said 'concentric rings of apparent mass in low acceleration systems' (a prediction I made in my first paper in 2007, see the discussion part). He then replied saying that something like that has been seen (Jee et al., 2014) and the rings cannot sensibly be explained by dark matter (you'll see in the paper they propose one of the usual complex simulation-type explanations). So my next goal is to see if I can predict the ring's radius.

I should have known in advance how hard it would be to change a paradigm, but the important thing, is to calmly focus on showing that MiHsC is simpler, more predictive and more beautiful than the other theories, as I believe it is by a mile. Having said that, MiHsC is the beginning of a shift to information physics, not the end, so there's plenty of scope for others to contribute and I hope they do.

References

McCulloch, M.E., 2007. Modelling the Pioneer anomaly as modified inertia. MNRAS, 376, 338-342. Preprint: http://arxiv.org/abs/astro-ph/0612599

Jee et al., 2007. ApJ, 661, 728 http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1086/517498/meta;jsessionid=BB439BE3084D240817A269DE53396BA5.c3.iopscience.cld.iop.org

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Feynman & the Yellow Paint.

My favourite physicist, even over Einstein and Newton, is Richard Feynman. I have always admired the work of the former two of course, but it was Feynman that convinced me that physics could be fun, and that in order to contribute you don't have to be somehow in touch with God, or superhuman. You just have to be a puzzled human being. I was pleased to discover this, since I happen to be such a human being.

Feynman told a story in his book: Surely You're Joking Mr Feynman? (p81), in which he met a painter in a cafe. This painter claimed he could make yellow paint out of red and white paint. Feynman always loved practical guys and he wanted to believe him, but he was fairly sure that something was screwy. Surely mixing red and white paint would make pink? He asked the painter to demonstrate, so the guy started mixing white and red paint, and the result was always pink. Eventually the painter got annoyed: "Hm, I'll just add some yellow paint, to sharpen it up, and then it'll be yellow". "Aha!" said Feynman, "Sure you can get yellow if you add yellow!".

Now forgive my boldness but I think dark matter physicists are doing something similar. Consider: we had general relativity in 1915, and this theory has predicted a few things well at high accelerations (close binary stars, gravitational lensing, GPS corrections), but it did not predict the rotation of any galaxies at their edges which are in a low acceleration regime (the edge stars all orbit far too fast) and since the cosmos is composed of nothing but galaxies this is a big deal. Also, general relativity did not predict cosmic acceleration. An even bigger thing to miss. Rather than dispute general relativity, as at least some of them should have, they have almost all added a lot of yellow paint: in the case of galaxies they have added huge amounts of dark matter arbitrarily, with the express purpose of making general relativity work. In the case of cosmic acceleration they add dark energy which is similarly arbitrary and designed to save the theory. This amounts to an addition of 96% yellow paint. Karl Popper, who assessed the history of science, warned against this kind of thing and concluded that one should not try to save a theory by adding further invisible elements to it. By the way, MiHsC explains both these huge anomalies without any yellow paint (it has no adjustable parameters).

To be clear, I don't blame most of those in the dark matter industry for this. They follow dark matter simply because they have to eat, and that's what the funding system is solely directed towards at the moment. Luckily, MiHsC doesn't need any funding. My labs and supercomputers are pieces of paper.

References

Feynman, R.P., 1985. Surely You're Joking Mr Feynman! Vintage.

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

MiHsC wins in Dwarf Galaxies

The best way to test MiHsC (quantised inertia) is to look at systems where accelerations are very low, and so the anomalies it predicts become more obvious. Milky Way satellite dwarf galaxies are brilliant tests, being far from the Milky Way and having only a tenuous hold on their stars.

It is well known that full-sized galaxies spin too fast to hold themselves in gravitationally. So astrophysicists add extra invisible (dark) matter to them, putting it where they want, in a deeply unscientific manner. These satellite dwarf galaxies are useful because it is very hard for them to do that, because dark matter usually has to stay spread out on huge galactic scales to explain why it remains only around the edge of galaxies, so you can't then suddenly pack it into a tiny dwarf galaxy, without causing a contradiction. Also, the amounts of dark matter needed to hold these dwarf galaxies together is 100 or more times the visible mass in them which is getting to be ridiculous, especially given the fact that you can't concentrate the stuff like this anyway without becoming intellectually schizophrenic.

I have recently compared the predictions of the dwarf galaxies rotation speeds from MiHsC (which reduces the inertial mass for low accelerations in a new way), the speed predicted by Newtonian or general relativisitic models (without dark matter) and MoND with the speeds observed. This plot is the result:

The observed spins (velocity dispersions of the stars) of these 11 dwarf galaxies (the ones for which I can find both mass and velocity data, I have not cherry picked) are shown by the hollow squares. The dwarfs' names are also shown. The predictions of Newton/GR (without dark matter) are shown by the crosses at the bottom. The predictions of the empirical theory MoND are shown by the black triangles (with its adjustable parameter set at 1.8x10^-10 m/s^2) and the predictions of MiHsC are shown by the black diamonds. The root mean squared error for Newton, MoND and MiHsC are 6.3, 3.3, 2.9 km/s respectively, so MiHsC is the closest to the observations, despite having no adjustability, and in these cases applying dark matter is doubly ridiculous, as mentioned above.

The dark matter detection industry is unlikely to be happy about this, but the point is you can make things work out with MiHsC on a piece of paper without spending millions on huge detectors. This deserves some notice. I'm just about to submit a paper so feedback or suggestions for more data would be very welcome.