Most people in 1940 exalted the big with a positive mania for admiring the newest biggest hydro dam or heavy bomber and they considered an atom to be pretty tiny - in fact, probably the tiniest thing in the Universe.
But even in 1940, scientists and those who kept up with popular media reports of the latest scientific discoveries and theories knew that that rocky objects like the Earth, made up of atoms combined into compounds and mixtures, were a blindingly small part of the Universe.
For 99.9%, by mass, of the visible Universe is plasma - the fourth (common) state of matter, a swirling hot gas made up of ions rather than complete atoms.
While in terms of space, most of the visible universe is (nearly empty) vacuum.
And already by the early 1930s, thanks to visionary scientists like Zwicky, it was seen that the visible facts of the universe could only be explained by the impact of simply massive amounts of dark invisible matter and energy, far far bigger than the visible mass and energy.
So by now, atoms and rocky planets like Earth were down to maybe .00001% of the total mass/energy of the Universe.
And big objects on Earth - objects like Man and his buildings - represented a much smaller percentage of even that small percentage.
So when Dr Henry Dawson chose to exalt the small in his "small" penicillin Manhattan Project, he was actually backing a certain winner and voting with the crowd.
Only the unbounded hubris of Man at the very apogee of Modernity, could think that in exalting the big as the "norm", he was going with the flow of Nature.
Because, in fact, the tide of Nature was decidedly going the other way.....