Theoretical Physics research seminar: Quantised inertia - from galaxy rotation to practical propulsion

Dr Mike McCulloch (School of Biological and Marine Sciences, University of Plymouth) will present a seminar on his research in theoretical physics


A theory has been proposed (refs 1 & 2) that explains inertia as an interaction between the quantum vacuum and relativistic horizons. It is called quantised inertia and it predicts a slight deviation from standard inertia that enables it to predict galaxy rotation without the need for dark matter (ref 3). Quantised inertia also predicts that propellant-less thrust can be produced by confining radiation in an asymmetric cavity (ref 4) with astronautical applications.

DARPA has recently provided $1.3M to support further theoretical work on the theory in Plymouth, and to test it in the lab. The experiments are being done by teams in Germany and Spain. In this talk, I will introduce quantised inertia, present the astrophysical evidence for it, and present the preliminary experimental findings which are encouraging but inconclusive.


  1. McCulloch, M.E., 2007. Modelling the Pioneer anomaly as modified inertia. Mon. Not. Roy. Astro. Soc., 376, 338-342.
  2. McCulloch, M.E., 2013. Inertia from an asymmetric Casimir effect. EPL, 101, 59001. Arxiv:
  3. McCulloch, M.E., 2017. Galaxy rotations from quantised inertia and visible matter only. Astrophys. & Space Sci., 362,149 (open access)
  4. McCulloch, M.E., 2017. Testing quantised inertia on emdrives with dielectrics. EPL, 118, 34003 (open access).