The Hebrew word “b'reshith” (Symbol) means “in the beginning”. It is the first word and title of the Book of Genesis, and it describes a process of creation. The four authors were present at the beginning of Langer labs, and the purpose of this essay is to convey the scientific and technological zeitgeist that existed in the late 1970s and early 1980s, when Bob Langer began his exceptionally creative work. While Langer labs has branched into many other areas, Bob's unique ability to recognize important problems and entice people to look beyond their own disciplines to solve them was evident from the start. We focus on the two areas of most interest to Bob at the time, namely controlled release of macromolecules from polymers, and removal of heparin in order to prevent uncontrolled bleeding during surgery.