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William McLellan (nanotechnology)

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Title: William McLellan (nanotechnology)  
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Subject: Scientific wager, There's Plenty of Room at the Bottom, Richard Feynman
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William McLellan (nanotechnology)

William Howard McLellan (December 1, 1924 – September 30, 2011) was an American electrical engineer.[1]

In December 1959, Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman offered two challenges relating to nanotechnology at the annual meeting of the American Physical Society, held that year at Caltech, offering a $1000 prize to the first person to solve each of them. The first one required someone to build a working electric motor that would fit inside a cube 1/64 inches on each side. McLellan, at that time living nearby, achieved this feat by November 1960 and won the prize;[2] his 250-microgram 2000-rpm motor consisted of 13 separate parts.

The prize for the second challenge was claimed only much later, by Tom Newman in 1985.


  1. ^ "William Howard McLellan Obituary: View William McLellan's Obituary by Pasadena Star-News". Retrieved 2013-01-25. 
  2. ^ Gribbin, John. "Richard Feynman: A Life in Science" Dutton 1997, pg 170.

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