Meeting report

National seminar on crystallography

Gauhati University, India, January 2005

[Lal]ICA President Dr. Krishan Lal speaking at the Inaugural Session of XXXIV National Seminar on Crystallography
The XXXIV National Seminar on Crystallography was held for the first time in the northeastern reagion of India at Gauhati U. on January 10-12, 2005. This remote region is geographically and ethnically different from most other parts of India and thus this meeting helped achieve the important objective of spreading crystallographic education and research in the seven Indian states of the region. As the seminar was held in the aftermath of the Great Asian Tsunami of December 26, 2004, attendance was reduced in the 136 presentations during oral and poster sessions. The topics covered all branches of crystallographic research and education. Macromolecular crystallography dominated the proceedings. J.K. Dattagupta (Saha Inst. of Nuclear Physics, Kolkata) delivered his keynote speech on plant proteins. Other areas that received due attention included the identification and structural characterization of new organic and metal-organic substances. The meeting held against the backdrop of the prediction of a big earthquake in Assam, the Indian state of which Guwahati is the capital city, brought interesting observations (apart from the scientific contents per se) from scientists of renowned Indian institutions including the Indian Inst. of Science, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, the Indian Inst. of Technology, The U. of Madras, Indian Assn for the Cultivation of Science (IACS – Kolkata), Banares Hindu U. (BHU, Varanasi), All India Inst. of Medical Sciences and Nat’l Chemical Lab. (NCL,Pune).

The highlight of the seminar was an evening presentation ‘On the Legacy of GN Ramachandran’ by M. Vijayan that was followed by the screening of a beautifully produced VCD Immortal Coils on the life of G.N. Ramachandran and his work on collagen and the very lively annual meeting of the Indian Crystallographic Assn presided over by the well known materials physicist cum crystallographer Krishan Lal (Nat’l Physical Lab., New Delhi). A talk on crystallographic education was delivered by T.N. Guru Row (Indian Inst. of Science). Other speakers included V. Pattabhi (U, of Madras) who spoke on weak interactions, M.R.N. Murthy (Indian Inst. of Science) adroitly mixing little bits of crystallographic education with protein structure of microorganisms, and S. Mazumder (Bhabha Atomic Research Centre) talking on Small Angle Scattering. H.L. Duorah, former Vice-Chancellor of Gauhati U. and a well-regarded astrophysicist, delivered the Valedictory Address, which was inaugurated by the pioneering crystallographer-physicist of yesteryear, B. Chaudhuri (Professor Emeritus, Gauhati U.).

Birinchi Kumar Das, Convener