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The term 'molecular gastronomy' was coined in 1988 by Nicholas Kurti and Hervé This. Molecular gastronomy refers the application of scientific principles to the understanding and improvement of small-scale food preparation, or more simply the science of cooking as practiced at home and in restaurants.
Molecular gastronomy is the scientific study of food preparation and enjoyment - why and how different cooking methods change foods, how our senses and brains perceive aroma and flavor, how we might improve cooking methods, etc.
Harold McGee defines molecular gastronomy as: "The scientific study of deliciousness".
Molecular gastronomy should not be confused with new styles of cooking known by various names: molecular cooking, culinary constructivism, molecular cusine, etc.
Some good sources of in depth information about molecular gastronomy: