A Boy And His Atom: IBM Creates the World’s Smallest Stop-Motion Film With Atoms

What you’re watch­ing above isn’t your ordi­nary film. No this film — A Boy And His Atom – holds the Guin­ness World Record for being the World’s Small­est Stop-Motion Film. It’s lit­er­al­ly a movie made with atoms, cre­at­ed by IBM nanophysi­cists who have “used a scan­ning tun­nel­ing micro­scope to move thou­sands of car­bon monox­ide mol­e­cules, all in the pur­suit of mak­ing a movie so small it can be seen only when you mag­ni­fy it 100 mil­lion times.” If you’re won­der­ing what that means exact­ly, then I’d encour­age you to watch the behind-the-scenes doc­u­men­tary below. It takes you right onto the set — or, rather into the lab­o­ra­to­ries — where IBM sci­en­tists reveal how they move 5,000 mol­e­cules around, cre­at­ing a sto­ry frame by frame. As you watch the doc­u­men­tary, you’ll real­ize how far nan­otech­nol­o­gy has come since Richard Feyn­man laid the con­cep­tu­al foun­da­tions for the field in 1959A Boy And His Atom will be added to our col­lec­tion of 525 Free Movies Online.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Richard Feyn­man Intro­duces the World to Nan­otech­nol­o­gy with Two Sem­i­nal Lec­tures (1959 & 1984)

Stephen Fry Intro­duces the Strange New World of Nanoscience

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.