I have avoided talking too much about my own research here, with the intent of maintaining a broader perspective on CM and nanoscale physics. However, an example of nano-hype directly related to my own research has come up that I can't just let go (thanks to one of my regular anonymous contributors for pointing out the media aspects of this). Here is a perfectly reasonable theory paper about trying to make single-molecule transistors that operate in a new way. Basically the idea is to somehow (this trivial detail is left as an exercise for the experimentalists, which is actually fine for a theory paper like this) wire up three leads directly to a single small molecule. By varying the voltage on the "gate" lead, the quantum mechanical amplitude for tunneling from the source lead to the drain lead is modulated due to quantum interference. One could imagine (though this isn't discussed in the paper) implementing something like this in a GaAs quantum dot. For example, one could have a little "stub" dot off to the side of a channel connecting the source and drain. If the stub dot was tuned into the Kondo regime via coupling to the channel, then there would be a Fano antiresonance that would suppress source-drain conduction. Same basic idea. Anyway, the concept is sound, and the calculations (though done in some limited approximation on an idealized molecular/lead geometry) show that it's not crazy. Fine.
I have no problem with the science (though experimentally implementing it as conceived will be incredibly difficult). What I do have a problem with is the ensuing media onslought. Read this press release, which got picked up by CNN (broadcast, not the web). Read it all the way through, to the point where the scientist starts talking (I'm not making this up) about little nanobots controlled by computers that use this transistor concept swimming through your bloodstream. AAAAAGGGH! WHY DO PEOPLE DO THIS? Does the Arizona group really think that their paper will have more impact and enable more and better science and technology because of this? Do they think their pending patent on this idea will be more likely to be licensed? Don't they think that this kind of overreaching hype actually hurts the field in the long run?