Traditionally, the origins of nanotechnology are traced back to December 29, 1959, when Professor Richard Feynman (a 1965 Nobel Prize winner in physics) presented a lecture entitled “There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom” during the annual meeting of the American Physical Society at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). In this talk, Feynman spoke about the principles of miniaturization and atomic-level precision and how these concepts do not violate any known law of physics. Feynman described a process by which the ability to manipulate individual atoms and molecules might be developed, using one set of precise tools to build and operate another proportionally smaller set, and so on down to the needed scale.
He described a field that few researchers had thought much about, let alone investigated. Feynman presented the idea of manipulating and controlling things on an extremely small scale by building and shaping matter one atom at a time. He proposed that it was possible to build a surgical nanoscale robot by developing quarter-scale manipulator hands that would build quarter-scale machine tools analogous to those found in machine shops, continuing until the nanoscale is reached, eight iterations later.