This talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences. How can we possibly harness evaporation and say, run the engine of a car, lift heavy weights, and generate electricity? While investigating the mysterious wrinkles seen in the protective coats of bacterial spores, researchers noticed that spores can be very effective at
capturing energy from evaporating water. They are now creating special materials and devices assembled from tiny spores to harvest energy from the evaporation taking place in nature.
Ozgur Sahin is a biophysicist-inventor who investigates biological systems at physical extremes, like extremely fast and extremely small in size, to draw inspirations for technical innovations. As an Associate Professor of Biological Sciences and Physics at Columbia University, Sahin is best recognized for inventing a special microscope that can visualize mechanical properties of molecules and materials. For this invention, he won the Grand Prize at the Collegiate Inventors Competition of the National Inventors Hall of Fame. Sahin is also the recipient of a Packard Fellowship, an NIH Director's New Innovator Award, and a U.S. Department of Energy Early Career Award.