"In November 1954, the engineer André Waterkeyn, who wished to celebrate scientific progress for the 1958 world expo, hit upon the idea of the Atomium. This was to represent the atomic lattice of iron crystals, magnified 165 billion times linearly, according to the "cubic body centered" system. The Atomium is the visiualization of microscopic molecular structures on a great enlarged scale.
The fact that the Atomium rests on a single sphere, so that the diagonal of the cube is vertical, results principally from aesthetic considerations. The three bipods which start at ground level and support the three lower spheres have therefore no symbolic significance.
The Atomium was the star of the Expo and it still is a worldwide attraction for tourists today. As France has the Eiffel Tower so got Belgium its Atomium."
Now I know where to store the second hand atom smasher I just bought on e-Bay.