If, in some cataclysm, all of scientific knowledge were to be destroyed, and only one sentence passed on to the next generation of creatures, what statement would contain the most information in the fewest words? I believe it is the atomic hypothesis that all things are made of atoms — little particles that move around in perpetual motion, attracting each other when they are a little distance apart, but repelling upon being squeezed into one another. In that one sentence, you will see, there is an enormous amount of information about the world, if just a little imagination and thinking are applied.
Richard Feynman take on the one story detail.
That line of inquiry would, presumably, lead to the discovery of subatomic particles. Indeed, that seems to me the point: it’s a single detail that leads to the right-minded thinking about the world, even if it is not precisely correct.