The Vortex Theory of Atoms - pinnacle of classical physics
Laan, S.F. van der
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Investigation into a nineteenth century atomic theory that assumed atoms to be vortices in an ether. Originally an idea of Kelvin, the vortex atom theory enjoyed great popularity in England, roughly form 1870 to 1890. In this thesis, the popular- ity of the vortex atom theory is explained through four values in nineteenth century English physics. Furthermore, it will be argued that the (surprising) fact that the theory was virtually ignored by German scientists can be explained by a German critical attitude towards scientific theories. An attitude that was a reaction to the Romantic philosophy of Naturphilosophie.