2014: International Year of Crystallography

The International Union of Crystallography (IUCr), with support from the UN, has proclaimed 2014 to be the International Year of Crystallography! The celebration marks the centenary of two landmark discoveries that have changed the way we understand our world. Max von Laue demonstrated that crystals diffract a beam of X-rays (Nobel prize 1914) and the Braggs (father and son) soon after proved that the diffraction pattern can be used to determine the 3-dimensional arrangement of atoms within the crystal (Nobel prize 1915). Almost 100 years later, we rely on these discoveries in a huge range scientific disciplines including physics, chemistry, materials science, medicine and nanotechnology.

The aims of the International Year of Crystallography include fostering international collaborations between scientists, increasing public awareness of the importance of crystallography in everyday life and to promote education on the subject, especially in parts of the world that are currently lacking adequate funding. Crystallography is particularly useful for us in the Faul Research Group as the properties of the materials we work with are ultimately determined by the structure and organization of the constituent molecules. To celebrate, here is one of my diffraction patterns that I have titled Tequila Sunrise for obvious reasons!

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