IBM Research Laboratories, a research and development organization with 12 laboratories worldwide, was exploring the limits of data storage to meet the everincreasing needs of data creation and consumption. As part of its research, IBM Research was able to demonstrate magnetic memory on an atomic scale. The demonstration proved that data could be stored in just 12 atoms – in comparison to the 1 million atoms currently used by most computers. The demonstration gained worldwide scientific recognition but IBM wanted mainstream awareness for its incredible atomic innovations.
In order to bring its research to life, Ogilvy & Mather – IBM’s global agency – conceived of a movie made entirely from atoms. Ogilvy & Mather knew that the movie alone may not generate the public awareness that IBM sought for its amazing scientific feat. Guinness World Records was approached to find a record category which recognised the atomic achievement. With a new world record category for the Smallest stop-motion film, IBM went on to create “A Boy and His Atom”; a movie made with just 12 atoms. Ogilvy & Mather announced the record-breaking accomplishment by releasing the film on YouTube and used the Guinness World Records trademark to authenticate the news.
Capturing, positioning and shaping atoms to create an
original motion picture on the atomic-level is a precise
science and entirely novel. At IBM, researchers don’t just
read about science, we do it. This movie is a fun way to
share the atomic-scale world while opening up a dialogue
with students and others on the new frontiers of math and