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Pioneering ‘nano’ ideas

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Richard P. Feynman (1918-1988) was professor of theoretical physics at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), Pasadena, Calif. Awarded the 1965 Nobel Prize for his work on the development of quantum electrodynamics, Feynman has been credited with pioneering the field of quantum computing and introducing the concept of nanotechnology. In a talk before the American Physical Society at Caltech, he envisioned portable computing, but even he did not foresee its revolutionary influence.

“I don’t know how to do this on a small scale in a practical way, but I do know that computing machines are very large; they fill rooms. Why can’t we make them very small … What are the possibilities of small but movable machines? They may or may not be useful, but they surely would be fun to make.” —Richard Feynman, Dec. 29, 1959

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