Then the electron cloud model came trotting in on the heels of Thompson's discovery, but as you can see from this forum at Ask Jeeves, there is a bit of confusion as to how it actually came into being.
Universe Today gives a rather clearer picture of what the electron cloud model actually is, and explains how and why it does away with the orbital-balls idea.
I'm likening this beautiful object to a quantum rail gun:
"The new geometric version of quantum field theory could facilitate the search for a theory of quantum gravity that would seamlessly connect the large- and small-scale pictures of the universe. Attempts thus far to incorporate gravity into the laws of physics at the quantum scale have run up against nonsensical infinities and deep paradoxes.
The amplituhedron, or a similar geometric object, could help by removing two deeply rooted principles of physics:
locality and unitarity.
Locality is the notion that particles can interact only from adjoining positions in space and time. And unitarity holds that the probabilities of all possible outcomes of a quantum mechanical interaction must add up to one. The concepts are the central pillars of quantum field theory in its original form, but in certain situations involving gravity, both break down, suggesting neither is a fundamental aspect of nature."