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June 23rd, 2004
One summer day in 1985, not that long before he shared the Nobel Prize in Physics for a device he had invented five years earlier for seeing atoms, known as a scanning tunneling microscope, IBM scientist Gerd Binnig was lying on a sofa in a Palo Alto apartment staring up at a cheap, stucco-like ceiling. As he lounged there, he imagined each bump on the ceiling as an atom. What followed was an "Aha!" moment that continues to reverberate through the scientific and business worlds.
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