"It is my intention to offer a prize of $1,000 to the first guy who can take the information on the page of a book and put it on an area 1/25,000 smaller in linear scale in such manner that it can be read by an electron microscope. "
From "There's Plenty of Room at the Bottom" a lecture given at American Physical Society Meeting by physicist Richard Feynman in December, 1959. Feynman ponder the possibility of developing the technology to arrange atoms one by and called for the development of microscopes with higher resolution. The impact of this lecture on research was minimal until the 1990's, Feynman’s concept of the manipulation of atoms did play a role in securing funding in President Clinton’s National Nanotechnology Initiative.
Plenty of Room at the Bottom : a Lecture by Richard P. Feldman