Special report

History of the Brazilian Crystallographic Association (SBCr)

[SBCr logo]

The SBCr was founded in 1971, during a School on Direct Methods in Crystallography at the San Carlos campus of the U. of São Paulo (USP). In those days, several researchers were making great efforts to establish experimental research labs in Brazil, and a group of them (12 geologists , 14 chemists, 21 physicists and 4 engineers) all working at several universities in the states of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, identified X-ray diffraction and structure analysis as their common field of research and founded the Sociedade Brasileira de Cristalografia (SBCr). The Society was established with a Provisional Council. The by-laws and goals were described in the charter of foundation, legally approved in 1976, when the first Administration Officers and Council were elected.

[SBCr group 1] 1974: Opening ceremony of a school on direct methods at the Physics Inst., USP-Sao Carlos, with the presence of a very prestigious group of lecturers: M.M. Woolfson, Jerome Karle, Isabella Karle, Edson Rodrigues, Sérgio and Yvonne Mascarenhas (organizers of the school), H. Hauptmann, P.P. Ewald, P. Main and L. Lessinger.

The eclectic origin of the founding members of the SBCr reflected the diversity of interests of the research groups in the early seventies, which is in essence the same that exists today in Brazil. The active crystallography groups in Brazil nowadays are devoted to very different areas of research, having in common the basic techniques of crystallography.

[SBCr group 2] 1985: Dorothy Hodgkin was in Campinas presiding at a Pugwash Conference. She found out there was a crystallography lab at the U. of Campinas, and she wanted to know us! Left to right: I. Torriani, C.F. Souza, M. Fantini, S. Caticha Ellis.

One of the main activities of our crystallographic society is the organization of bi-annual meetings, which attract researchers from several areas. In general, the number of participants is much larger than the number of active members, since new crystallographic methods and techniques are considered of direct application in a number of interdisciplinary research areas such as biophysics, biochemistry, surface physics, and soft matter physics. The society offers short courses and workshops on crystallography, invites lecturers from abroad, and is very effective at creating new interests and encouraging new students to join this field of knowledge.

[Guinier] 1974: A. Guinier, teaching a class at a course on 'X-ray diffraction from imperfect solids' at the Physics Institute, USP – Sao Carlos.

Brazil is affiliated to the IUCr, and the members of the National Committee are appointed by the SBCr. The present members are: G. Oliva (President), I. L. Torriani (Secretary), J. Lima da Silva, A. F. Craievich, and H. Tolentino.

[SBCr group 3] 1983: Some of the lecturers at the International School on teaching Crystallography for Materials Science, University of Campinas (IUCr sponsored event). Paul Schmidt, Harry Brumberger, Weinstein, S. Stephens, I. Torriani.

The total number of members in the SBCr is currently 170. The membership includes scientists from other Latin American countries. There are no special interest groups, since the community is not yet organized to that point, but the different labs have a certain specific dedication, and this creates some kind of 'natural' division in the crystallographic interests of the national membership.

[SBCr group 4] Participants of the XVI Meeting of the Brazilian Crystallographic Association – SBCr

What does the SBCr offers to its members? One meeting is organized every two years. A listing of members is updated periodically. Sponsorship is given to courses and workshops in areas related to crystallography. It is difficult to find members that will dedicate much of their time to run the Society, but fortunately there has always been a group that would undertake the task, aware of the fact that there is a lot to be done for the crystallographic community in Brazil.

The SBCr can be accessed from a link through LNLS (www.lnls.br).

2003 Officers of the SBCr

President: Y. Mascarenhas

Vice President: A. Craievich

General Secretary: C. Lariucci

Secretary: R. Itri

Treasurer: M. Fantini

Sec. Teaching Affairs: C. Paiva

Council Members: I. L. Torriani. C. Cusatis, M. T. do Prado Gambardella, G. Oliva, C. A. de Simone, C. Lariucci, N. Spezialli, I. Vencato, D. Atencio.