from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- The theory, advanced by Thomson (Lord Kelvin) on the basis of investigation by Helmholtz, that the atoms are vortically moving ring-shaped masses (or masses of other forms having a similar internal motion) of a homogeneous, incompressible, frictionless fluid. Various properties of such atoms (vortex atoms) can be mathematically deduced. This theory is now (1998) obsolete, and has been superseded by quantum mechanics, which provides more accurate and detailed explanations of atomic behavior.
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