Inspired by "superb" high school and college teachers who made chemistry "exciting," Edith Flanigen joined the Tonawanda, New York Research Laboratory of Union Carbide's Linde Air Products Division in 1952. There, in "a nearly idyllic atmosphere for creative scientific research," she embarked on a life-long career in the discovery, development and commercialization of zeolites and molecular sieves. Ultimately, she and her colleagues—"scientists of the highest quality, led and motivated by directors and leaders who were focused on discovery and innovation, expected it, and rewarded it"—developed a new generation of molecular sieves. Among the ingredients of her success: an environment that fosters innovation and top management commitment, support, willingness to take risks, and patience to allow a major discovery time to find its place in the commercial world.
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