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Third International Summer School of Crystallography

More than 34 participants from 15 countries have come to attend this year’s Summer School of Cristallography (ISSC) in the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science (CFEL). For a week they discussed the basics of crystallography, one of the most important tools for researching the structure of materials.


Participants of the third International Summer School of Crystallography in the Center for Free-Electran Laser Science. Credit: Marta Mayer, DESY

“Although the science of crystals plays an important role in our life, it is still largely unknown,” stresses Kanupriya Pande, a member of the Coherent Imgaging Group of CUI member Prof. Henry Chapman (Universität Hamburg, DESY) and organizer of the event. This is one of the reasons why the United Nations (UN) proclaimed 2014 as the International Year of Crystallography.

X-ray crystallography is used to determine the structure of crystalline solids. The resulting so called diffraction patterns make it possible to calculate the molecular or atomic structure of the investigated material. Analyzing the crystal structure is the basis for understanding different forms of matter – hardly any natural science can do without it.

In the age of computers, however, it becomes more and more difficult to understand what the programs used by the scientist actually do. For this reason the summer school wants to convey a clear understanding of the mathematical concepts underlying the techniques that are used, how their tools work and how the crystallographic challenges can be faced.

„We are very happy, that Professor Carmelo Giacovazzo from the University of Bari, an international expert on the field of crystallography, passes on his knowledge to the students as a speaker for the third time,” says Pande. The summer school is financially and organizationally supported by the PIER Helmholz Graduate School, the Hamburg Centre für Ultrafast Imaging (CUI), CFEL, the International Max Planck Research School (IMPRS) for Ultrafast Imaging and Structural Dynamics, the European XFEL GmbH, and DESY.