This shouldn't necessarily be something to mock but:
The American Institute of Physics Bulletin of Science Policy News
Number 121: September 13, 2004
The report continues, “At the root of the opportunities provided by nanoscience to impact our energy security is the fact that all the elementary steps of energy conversion (charge transfer, molecular rearrangement, chemical reactions, etc.) take place on the nanoscale. Thus, the development of new nanoscale materials, as well as the methods to characterize, manipulate and assemble them, creates an entirely new paradigm for developing new and revolutionary energy technologies. Our workshop has identified nine key areas of energy technology in which nanoscience can have the greatest impact.”
The part that I highlighted in bold is akin to saying that the current problems with international conflicts among humans can be solved by investigating cell biology. Since cell biology is at the root of all human development, we need more research money to be applied to the cellular-scale.
Of course everything happens at the nanoscale. The fact that trendy terminology is used to market the well established fields of physics, chemistry, and material science drives me a bit batty.
On a related note, Bernie Meyerson, chief technologist at IBM, says Moore's Law is nearing its end. Basically, his prediction is based on the inability to physically scale conventional semiconductors any smaller. Thus, speed increases and density increases will tail off.
I interviewed with Meyerson at IBM several years ago, and although I did not join his specific group, my impressions of his work while there were top notch, and he was a brilliant chemist, with an artisan's feel for crystal growth. Suffice to say, that when someone at the top of his game with the backing of the preeminent technology research corporation says something as thought-provoking as predicting the end of Moore's law, you bet people will think somethings up.