But the pitcher plant didn’t get the award for that. (Instead, it got a free, emergency appointment with an utricularian dietitian and an American defense attorney.)
Seriously: From “Pitcher Plant Inspires R&D Award” (Creation-Evolution Headlines,June 21, 2012), we learn:
The R&D 100 award, previously given for inventions like the fax machine and automated teller machine, has been given this year for a biologically-inspired design that could revolutionize society in many ways.
Pitcher plant: How would you like a non-stick frying pan that really is non-stick? Self-cleaning windows? Clothes that don’t stain? These may be coming due to SLIPS, a non-stick surface developed at Harvard School of Engineering by a team led by Joanna Aizenberg, a core professor at Harvard’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering (see entry from 10/10/2011). The Harvard Press release announcing its win said, “‘SLIPS’ technology … has transformative potential for everyday life.” Surgeons and hospitals will benefit from tools and surfaces that resist bacteria. Oil will someday flow through pipes that resist sticking. Refrigerator coils will no longer have ice buildup. The possibilities are endless, and this prestigious award, on its 50th anniversary, went to a technology inspired by a pitcher plant. In a video on PhysOrg’s article, Aizenberg describes SLIPS and demonstrates its effectiveness.
Here’s more on one of Matzke’s recent Nature papers.