from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. An atom supposed to be formed by the rotational or vortex motion of a portion of an incompressible fluid free from viscosity. A vortex-atom may be regarded as a vortex-ring in the ether, a body which, as was shown by Helmholtz and by Kelvin, possesses many of the properties which it is necessary to assign to an atom. See vortex.


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  • The vortex-atom, produced by infinitesimal friction operating through wellnigh infinite time, is to be ultimately abolished by the agency which produced it.

    The Unseen World, and Other Essays

  • Somewhat in the same way that a loosely suspended chain becomes rigid with rapid rotation, the hardness and elasticity of the vortex-atom are explained as due to the swift rotary motion of a soft and yielding fluid.

    The Unseen World, and Other Essays

  • So that the vortex-atom is really indivisible, not by reason of its hardness or solidity, but by reason of the indestructibleness of its motion.

    The Unseen World, and Other Essays

  • Such is by no means the case with Sir William Thomson's vortex-atom theory, which to-day is in somewhat the same condition as the undulatory theory of Huyghens two centuries ago.

    The Unseen World, and Other Essays

  • We are now brought to one of the profoundest speculations of modern times, the vortex-atom theory of Helmholtz and Thomson, in which the evolution of ordinary matter from ether is plainly indicated.

    The Unseen World, and Other Essays

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