Throughout the ages physics has sought to explain the nature of matter both on Earth and in the heavens. Millennia ago, the Greek philosophers posited the existence of atoms, thereby launching a journey through the centuries, which in due course confirmed their existence and have made them tools of our everyday life. More recently, modern thought combined the theories of relativity and quantum mechanics leading to an understanding of matter now encoded in the Standard Model. This progress has led to startling new applications in fields such as nanotechnology and genomics. This conference will trace the progress of thought from the speculations of the ancients to the reality of the modern day.