In support of IBM’s Centennial, we are highlighting 100 Icons of Progress. These Icons demonstrate our faith in science, our pursuit of knowledge and our belief that together we can make the world work better.
One of the icons that illustrates this definition best, in my humble and biased opinion, is No. 15, the Scanning Tunneling Microscope (STM), which was invented right here in Switzerland in 1981 in the small town of Rüschlikon – home to IBM Research.
The discovery, which enabled scientists to visualize the world all the way down to its molecules and atoms, opened the doors to nanotechnology for the world. And at the same time it created a great economic opportunity for Switzerland in creating “nanotechnology hubs” between business, academia and government. But don’t take my world for it, read what the Canadian press are saying.
Not unlike Silicon Valley for IT start-ups and green innovations, Switzerland is world-reknown as THE PLACE for skills in exploring the tiny world of nanoscience. This is why the governments of Saudia Arabia, Poland and Lithuania have all partnered with IBM Research to establish their own interests at the nano scale in recent years.
But before getting too far ahead, I would be remiss to not mention that the STM was recognized in 1986 with the Nobel Prize for Physics. In support of the media frenzy that occurred at the time, IBM created video footage for TV, which is below.
An Icon of Progress indeed.