How Can You See An Atom? (Video) (IMAGE) American Chemical Society Caption Since ancient Greek times, philosophers and scientists have pondered the atom. For a couple thousand years, humans could only speculate on the structure and other properties of the smallest unit of matter. It wasn't until the 1980s that chemists saw individual atoms. Bestselling author Sam Kean takes us through the nearly 2,400-year quest to see the atom in a new episode of the Reactions sub-series. Credit The American Chemical Society Usage Restrictions None License Licensed content Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.