A generationIn my career as a chemist, I owe a huge windfall. In 2012, I was in the right place at the right time (IBM’s Almaden Research Laboratory in California)-but I did the “wrong” thing. I should mix three ingredients in a beaker, hoping to create a known material. The goal is to replace a common ingredient with a version from plastic waste to improve the sustainability of strong plastics called thermoset polymers.