What does POAMS stand for?
POAMS is the acronym coined by a small but growing group of scientists for the ‘Pope-Osborne Angular Momentum Synthesis’. This is the identifying title, not only of the thesis itself but also of the group which has formed itself around this new approach to physical science. It seeks to avoid the fallacies that are endemic in our traditional approach to the subject and to re-establish physics on the more positive lines introduced by the late nineteenth century philosopher-physicist, Ernst Mach. Mach’s programme for physics was to base the subject on what we actually observe, not on things and events that we merely imagine – or are told – that there are underlying those observations. Moreover, for Mach, there was also the criterion of conceptual efficiency and economy in interpreting observational information. You can count horses by counting their legs and tails and dividing by five. But Mach would say that it is far simpler and safer to count horses direct. The only place for theory in this neo-Machian approach to physics is to obtain the most logically connected, efficient and conceptually economical interpretations of the physical phenomena. Anything else, Mach’s followers, the Logical Positivists, regarded as just pure metaphysics.
Now anyone may plainly see that in the phenomenon of free space nothing is stationary. Everything is moving with respect to everything else. As far as POAMS is concerned, among those motions there is no absolutely rectilinear momentum mv. All free motion is angular momentum r × mv, in which every body is automatically paired and balanced with every other around a common centre of moment. In that case, the only rectilinear momentum we may think of can be that of a body travelling in a circular orbit of theoretically infinite radius r, hence, of course, with an infinite angular momentum, which is unreal. It follows then that in all real cases, bodies are finite distances r apart, so their angular momenta with respect to one another are also finite, hence naturally curved, with no question of there being any invisible in vacuo ‘forces’ responsible for that curvature. POAMS presents an angular momentum equation according to which, particles with large amounts of spin angular momentum, such as that ascribed to ‘electrons’ and ‘protons’, follow (theoretical) orbital trajectories with parameters different from those of non-spinning bodies. In this way, POAMS explains the different types of orbits and the forces – that is, actually measurable and tangible forces – that have to be exerted to prevent bodies from moving in that free and natural, curvilinear way. These are real , ponderable forces, as opposed to those invisible and imponderable, purely theoretical in vacuo ‘forces’ called ‘gravitational’, ‘electrostatic’, ‘magnetostatic’, ‘nuclear’ and so on. This turns the traditional textbook ‘force’ concept inside-out and upside-down. This is insofar as it makes real force the torque that has to be exerted to prevent bodies from travelling in their natural force-free orbits, instead 0f the purely theoretical ‘gravitational force’ which Newton invented to explain that natural orbital motion.
In POAMS, then, in the same way that there is no light-velocity in vacuo, there are no invisible in vacuo ‘forces’, of ‘gravity’ or whatever. It follows, therefore, that there are none of the various ‘fields’ or ‘ethers’ of the sort that have to be postulated in order to mediate those assumed ‘forces’. All the free motions of bodies are correlated in an overall-conserved and reciprocally balanced relation of angular momentum, as observed with the planets and other objects in the solar system. With there being no ‘fields’ to speak of, the perennial problem of how to ‘unify’ these in vacuo fields is automatically solved – or, rather, dissolved – simply by dispensing with them altogether in favour of a universal and unified nexus of angular momentum.
Now although angular momentum itself is a non-local relation, all changes in angular momentum are local. What this means is that in accordance with the law of conservation of angular momentum, it is impossible to change the overall angular momentum of a system en bloc. The only way in which angular momentum can change, therefore, is by local changes in subsystems, of angular momentunm where each change in the one subsystem (body or atom) is accompanied by a compensatory, balancing change in the angular momentum of some other subsystem somewhere else – that is, immediately and instantly in what is called action-at-a-distance, without the angular momentum of the system as a whole being at any time disconserved. (It is to be emphasised that all ‘forces’ applied to bodies to change their free orbital angular momentum are, in essence, torques.)
Although on the fundamental quantum level all interactions are proper-time instantaneous, on the ordinary macro-phenomenal level of relativistic observation these local changes in angular momentum (torques) are propagated throughout the surrounding subsystems at the distance-time rate c. (Recall that in POAMS, c is not a speed but simply a constant relating observational distance-measures in metres and time-measures in seconds in the way that was first observed by the seventeenth century astronomer Olaus Römer.) Originally interpreted as ‘the speed of light’, this constant was re-interpreted by Herman Bondi in 1954, as simply a dimensional ‘conversion factor’, not a ‘speed’ in any true mechanical sense of the word. Thus, unlike the traditional Faraday-Maxwell theory of light as a ‘wave’ consisting of alternately generating electrostatic and magnetostatic field-vectors, propagating away into a vitual limbo, in POAMS the action is more like that in a movie which, as everyone knows, consists of time-sequences of purely distance-extended ‘stills’ in which objects are instantly connected to one another in the same photographic frame, so that the action consists of successions of those quantum stills in the running of the film. In this kinematical process, quantum instantaneity (action-at-a-distance) is like the immediate connection between objects in the cinematographic stills themselves, while the observational, or delayed-time interaction s/c between those objects is like the constant rate of succession of stills in the running of the film.
This ‘cinematic’ or quantum-sequential combination of instantaneous and delayed interaction obviously requires no supporting conception of mediating agencies such as the ‘ethers’ or ‘fields’ of classical imagining. True to its Machian, Positivistic lineage, POAMS requires no all-pervading and invisible, continuous medium for the conduction of distant quantum interaction. Every quantum is, in itself, both its own interaction and its own ‘medium’ for that interaction. In those interactions between atoms that we know as light, an amount of angular momentum lost by one atom (in quantum units of Planck’s constant h divided by 2pi) is immediately gained by another atom of lower or higher angular momentum h/2pi in an instantaneous blip of transferred energy in action units of h. The transfer is immediate because, since the overall angular momentum is conserved, there can be no delay between the disappearance of the quantum at the one place and its appearance at the other. And because the quantum is irreducible, there is no possibility of there being either a non-consummation of the interaction between source and sink or any loss of action in the intervening distance. From this it follows that the quantum can in no way be conceived as an emitted particle (e.g., a ‘photon’) wandering around looking for a billet. It is simply the ratio of the macroscopic – i.e., observational – distance in metres between the directly interacting (resonating) atoms to the time in seconds noted by Römer, the ratio that has been traditionally interpreted (or, rather, misinterpreted) as the ‘speed of light in vacuo‘. All that is involved at this quantum level are the two resonating atoms, and nothing else – far less any intrinsic property of some pre-existing vacuum, ‘field’ or ‘ether’. As for ‘light-waves in vacuo, what can possibly wave in a vacuum?
The constant c, therefore, in this Machian/Bondian interpretation, has the dimensions of a speed but none of its mechanical accompaniments. So although it is time-delayed, there is no need to think of anything travelling, in the form of a wave, a particle or anything else. This dispenses with the notoriously enigmatic concept of the ‘photon’ as a ‘travelling wave-particle’ with a motion which, like that of a bullet, is of an entirely ‘hit-or-miss’ character, and the delivery of whose energy, if it takes place at all, is entirely fortuitous. In place of the capricious ‘photon’, POAMS proposes the word ‘photum‘ as signifying a quantum of pure interaction with no suggestion of its having motion or any other properties of the sort traditionally conceived as ‘mechanical’. The quantum interaction between a pair of distance-separated atoms, as POAMS conceives it, is like a collision between two vehicles in accordance with Newton’s law of direct and reciprocal action and reaction. Think of the absurdity of reporting this collision as an accident involving three vehicles, the two vehicles and the accident itself! This is the sort of confusion modern physics creates by talking about quantum interactions between particles as if they were also ‘particles’ in the same sense (that is, ‘mesons’, ‘gluons’, etc.)
In these and many other ways, notwithstanding the purely practical benefits that have accrued from the ‘Standard Model’ of quantum physics, POAMS seeks to purge Modern physics of its historical proliferation of pure nonsense. Based on numerous papers, some published under the aegis of the Department of Mathematics, Keele University, England, what is now called the POAMS group of natural philosophers have convened workshops and seminars (at the University of Wales, Swansea and the University of the West of England, Bristol). These seminars are for like-minded physicists, philosophers and mathematicians to discuss the relevant issues. Follow-up debates are conducted by email. Publications of the Proceedings of some of these discussions may be found on this website in the section Seminal Publications and Resources.