Geophysical instruments and computers have advanced enormously via the advent of mass-produced microelectronic circuits, but according to a recent report, microstructure science, engineering, and technology (available from the Solid State Sciences Committee of the National Research Council of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences), this situation may change in the future. Innovations in electronic development are moving ahead at a greater rate than the fundamental science on which they are based. The science of the microproperties of solids, including the physical, electronic, and structural behavior of materials on the submicrometer scale has yet to be explored. The rapid evolution of geophysical instruments and the industrial production of electronic devices and computers in general have been dependent on circuitry of smaller dimensions. This trend has come to the point where ‘micro-effects’ are serious, with the result that the behavior of the next generation of semiconduct or devices may be relatively unreliable.