Welcome to the

International Union of Crystallography

The IUCr is an International Scientific Union. Its objectives are to promote international cooperation in crystallography and to contribute to all aspects of crystallography, to promote international publication of crystallographic research, to facilitate standardization of methods, units, nomenclatures and symbols, and to form a focus for the relations of crystallography to other sciences.


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Howard Flack (1943 - 2017)

[Howard Flack at the European Crystallography Meeting 1988]

Howard Flack demonstrates 'la Coupe du Roi' - a method of dissecting an apple into two identical chiral halves, during the 1998 European Crystallography Meeting in Prague. Photo courtesy W. L. Duax.

We are sorry to announce the death of Howard Flack on 2 February 2017. Howard was known to crystallographers worldwide for many achievements in structure determination, symmetry and crystallographic software, and his scientific contributions will be described in a full obituary that is in preparation. However, perhaps less well known is his role as a pioneer in electronic publishing and the information age for crystallography, and his friends and colleagues from the IUCr Editorial office wish to remember those here.

Among Howard's consummate qualities as a scientist was a deep understanding of the importance of clarity and precision, both in the analysis of data and in the communicating of scientific results. This was always apparent in his scientific papers, or contributions to reference works such as International Tables for Crystallography. Howard also understood profoundly the importance of networking, whether the social connections between scientists, or the linking of ideas, concepts, data sets and results, and ultimately understanding, that flow from them. And so he was fascinated very early by the Internet, as a facilitator of communication and a tool for education and analysis. He established an information platform for crystallography, as part of the experimental EU CONCISE project, and very soon after that launched one of the first scientific web servers, advertising news and activities in "Crystallography World Wide". He was also very enthusiastic  about the newly emerging Usenet groups as a means of allowing scientists to communicate with each other within their areas of expertise. As Chair of the IUCr's Committee on Electronic Publishing, Dissemination and Storage of Information from 1997 to 2009, he worked closely with the IUCr editorial office to design and implement the IUCr's web server, with a rich and logical organisational structure that continues to the present. He also took a very close interest in the possibility of publishing journals, reference works and data sets electronically, and encouraged and supported the editorial office in its early efforts in this direction. With Yves Epelboin and Lachlan Cranswick, two other visionaries of electronic publication in its fullest sense, and through close interactions with Syd Hall, Frank Allen and David Brown during the early development of the Crystallographic Information Framework (CIF), Howard was a central figure in putting the IUCr at the forefront of the digital revolution.

We shall miss him.

Posted 07 Feb 2017 


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Exceptional opportunity to join the editorial team of IUCr Journals

The IUCr publishes a number of leading journals in crystallographic research, and in enabling technologies and methods. To mark the 70th anniversary of the Union this year, we are announcing an exceptional opportunity for scientific leaders from the wider structural science communities (both producers and users of structures) to join our editorial boards. The IUCr is committed to improving gender and geographical balance while maintaining the highest standards.

We currently have vacancies for Main Editor position(s) in the following journals: 

Journal of Synchrotron Radiation: soft X-ray applications and imaging
Journal of Applied Crystallography: neutron sources and applications
Structural Biology Communications (Acta Crystallographica Section F): protein crystallography, SAXS, NMR, cryoEM and protein science
Crystallographic Communications (Acta Crystallographica Section E): inorganic/solid state, organic molecular crystallography, non-ambient structures and pharmaceuticals

Candidates should meet the appointment criteria given here

Please write in confidence by 15 March 2017 to the Editor-in-chief (eic@iucr.org) and Executive Managing Editor (med@iucr.org), enclosing your CV, a list of your 20 most important publications, your vision for the journal in 500 words and a full list of publications. 

Posted 06 Feb 2017 


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IUCr and IUPAP awarded an ICSU grant

icsu.pngWe are delighted to report that the IUPAP-IUCr project “Utilisation of Light Source and Crystallographic Sciences to Facilitate the Enhancement of Knowledge and Improve the Economic and Social Conditions in Targeted Regions of the World” has been approved and funded under the 2016-2019 ICSU Grants Programme. The intent of the ICSU Grants Programme is to foster engagement among ICSU Scientific Unions by addressing long-standing priorities for ICSU members in developing science education, outreach and public engagement activities, and to mobilise resources for international scientific collaboration.

The IUPAP-IUCr proposal, prepared by Sekazi Mtwinga, Sandro Scandolo for IUPAP and Michele Zema for the IUCr, and supported by as many as 25 institutions (including UNESCO, ICSU-ROA, ICSU-ROLAC, ICTP, TWAS, IUMRS and several large-scale facilities), has received maximum grades on all of its aspects: relevance to the thematic topics; innovation; scientific quality; cost effectiveness; proposed participants.

Through this project, “ICSU will partner with IUPAP and IUCr to enhance advanced light source (AdLS) and crystallographic sciences in Africa, the Middle East, Mexico and Caribbean. Recognizing that AdLSs and crystallography are revolutionizing many disciplines, this project will accomplish the following: (1) develop a Strategic Plan for each region to grow and enhance its AdLS and crystallography user communities; (2) establish a Colloquium Programme for each region to recruit new AdLS and crystallography users; (3) publish an Information Brochure that describes AdLSs, crystallography, and the many fields that they impact; (4) facilitate researchers' visits to AdLS and crystallography facilities; and (5) convene a meeting at UNESCO Headquarters to present the regions' Strategic Plans and define the charge for more detailed Business Plans that include feasibility studies of constructing AdLSs in regions where they do not yet exist. By enhancing AdLS and crystallographic sciences, the regions' peoples will benefit from the research that will tackle such devastating viruses as Zika, Ebola and HIV. Moreover, considerable progress will be achieved towards sustainable sources of clean energy. Finally, the regions contain important archaeological and paleontological treasures to be explored by the beams from AdLSs. Thus, a major outcome of this project will be a buy-in by governmental officials that AdLSs and crystallography will bring major advances in their countries' socioeconomic development.”

You can read a press release from ICSU on their website
Posted 10 Feb 2017 


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The International Union of Crystallography (IUCr) expresses its concern over the USA Presidential Executive Order "Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States" and supports the call by the International Council for Science for this to be rescinded.

Posted 03 Feb 2017 


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Winners of the 2016 IUCr Crystal growing competition

Continuing the success of the crystal growing competition which launched during the International Year of Crystallography in 2014 we are delighted to announce the winners of the 2016 IUCr Crystal growing competition.

Participants were divided into three age-related categories and their videos were judged by an international panel of crystallographers. Videos were judged on their creativity, aesthetic value, description of the working plan and experimental work, clarity of explanation, scientific background and safety.

The winners of the 2016 competition are as follows:

Category: 15-18 – GOLD: Instituto Preuniversitario Escuela Industrial Domingo F. Sarmiento (Argentina); SILVER: Vinh Phuc Gifted High School (Vietnam); BRONZE: Colegio Santo Domingo de Silos (Spain).

Category: 11-15 – GOLD: Bukit Panjang Government High School (Singapore); SILVER: Wellspring School (Vietnam); BRONZE: Escuela de Educacion Secundaria no. 3 (Argentina).

Category: Under 11 – GOLD: Escuela José María Torres (Argentina); SILVER: St. Anthony Matriculation Higher Secondary School (India); BRONZE: Escuela no. 4048 "Provincia de Salta" (Argentina).

Winners will receive a medal and certificate marking their tremendous achievement over the coming months.

You can watch the winning videos by following this link.

We are pleased to announce that the 2017 IUCr Crystal growing competition is now open. All schoolchildren in the categories mentioned above are invited to submit their videos and convey their experience of growing crystals to the wider community. The deadline for submission of videos is 19 November 2017. We look forward to your entries. Please do not hesitate to let us know if you have any questions.

Posted 02 Feb 2017 

research news

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Crystal structure prediction: A special issue

me0625This special issue in Acta Crystallographica Section B: Structural Science, Crystal Engineering and Materials, showcases recent work in the area of crystal structure prediction (CSP). The prediction of crystal structures of organic molecules continues to attract considerable interest; the problem is fundamentally attractive for theoreticians and computational scientists, and the methods developed in this area have an important role to play in the development of molecular materials.

The main approach to CSP has remained largely unchanged since the earliest published attempts at ab initio structure prediction: trial crystal structures are created and assessed based on their calculated energies. The perfect theoretical approach to lattice energy calculations still does not exist and we should not expect the field to converge to a single method; users of CSP methods benefit greatly from having a range of available, validated options for their calculations, to make choices depending on the type of molecule being studied and available computational resources. Therefore, the development and careful assessment of approaches for calculating accurate lattice energies continue to feature heavily in CSP-related publications.

The special issue demonstrates the breadth of research in the area of CSP and we hope that the issue will stimulate interest and new research in this area. We thank all the authors who have contributed to this varied and high quality issue.

Graeme M. Day and Carl Henrik Görbitz
Guest editors

This is an excerpt taken from an editorial in Acta Crystallographica Section B: Structural Science, Crystal Engineering and Materials

Posted 31 Jan 2017