For one, most gels form upon cooling, not heating (think: Jell-O), which opens the door to some interesting potential applications. Further, polyisocyanide polymer is the first to demonstrate a rigidity that matches that found in biological polymers. Almost all naturally occuring biopolymers possess a kind of inherent rigidity that synthetic polymers simply lack, but Rowan's polymer is an exception. Its polymer strands consist of a helical backbone surrounded by short peptide arms sticking out from the sides. Each of these peptide arms is in turn tipped with a long tail of repeating carbon and oxygen chains that are nicely suited to grabbing water molecules, making it quite soluble.