Meeting report

15th Slovenian-Croatian crystallographic meeting

Slovenia, June 2006

[Slovenian-Croatian logo]The Meeting was held in Jezersko, a small village thought to be the most beautiful place between two mountain ranges, Karavanke and Kamnik-Savinja Alps. It lies some 900 meters above sea level in a peaceful area surrounded by Alpine peaks high enough to still be covered with snow during the Meeting.

[Mountain view]There were 68 active participants and 15 accompanying persons from eight countries. His Excellency, The Ambassador of Croatia to Slovenia, Mario Nobilo, took part in the opening ceremonies. Forty four short oral contributions were presented on contemporary topics in crystallography.

L. Golic (Ljubljana) and B. Kamenar (Zagreb) were the honorary chairs of the Meeting. I. Leban (Ljubljana) and S. Popovic (Zagreb), the programme co-chairs, have been working on these meetings since the first one 15 years ago. Special thanks are also due to the members of the Organizing Committee: N. Lah, V. Kaucic, A. Prodan and A. Meden.

The Slovenian Crystallographic Society and the Croatian Crystallographic Association are determined that future meetings will be held with the same concept of no registration fees and primarily oral presentations. The book of abstracts for this meeting contains a list of plenary lectures presented at all 15 meetings.

We would like to express our gratitude to our sponsors and donors: the Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology of Republic of Slovenia; the Slovenian Research Agency; the faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Technology, University of Ljubljana; Micro-Polo d.o.o., Maribor, Slovenia (distributor for Bruker AXS GmbH); RENACON d.d., Zagreb (distributor for PANalytical); SCAN d.o.o., Preddvor, Slovenia (distributor for JEOL), the Cambridge Crystallographic Data Centre; Rigaku, Europe; Oxford Diffraction Ltd; Marresearch GmbH; Oxford Cryosystems Ltd; and Medis d.o.o., Ljubljana.

The next meeting will be held in Croatia in June 2007, in a resort on the Adriatic Coast. For more information or to be put on the mailing list, contact S. Popovic,, or I. Leban,

Ivan Leban, Slovenian Crystallographic Society

[Tonejc, Kamicar, Leban]From left: Anton Tonejc, Davo Karnicar and Ivan Leban.
It is encouraging that in a world increasingly fragmented by artificial national, ethnic, religious and language barriers crystallographers from several countries can come together to discuss crystallography and enjoy each other’s company in an atmosphere of scenic beauty. There were four plenary lecturers, one each from crystallographers in Slovenia and Croatia and two from abroad. Robert Dinneber (Germany) reviewed recent advances in powder diffraction and illustrated how one can determine the structure of numerous temperature dependant phases of a compound in a single experiment with synchrotron radiation. Marija Kosec (Ljubljana) presented a comprehensive review of her powder diffraction and XAFs studies of the dielectric, pyroelectric, and piezoelectric properties of ferroelectric ceramics and there use in industrial applications for process control, environmental monitoring, information systems, and medical instrumentation. G. Stefanic (Zagreb) described the formation of high temperature ZrO2 polymorphs at room temperature and the importance of these strong, chemically resistant materials for use in cutting tools, automotive engine parts and valve seals. William Duax (USA) spoke on “The genes, amino acid sequences and crystal structures of short chain oxidoreductase enzymes”. Dozens of ten-minute presentations covering the gamut of crystallographic application from minerals to macromolecules using powder, single crystal and small angle scattering techniques. Each of the speakers managed to illustrate interesting new chemical, physical and biological information derived from their crystallographic structures. Andreja Zaga (The Netherlands) described the first crystal structure of a glucansucrase of particular interest for its agricultural importance. Dalibor Milic, (Zagreb) is pursuing the determination of the human serum apotransferin (apt). The structures of hen, rabbit and pig apt have been reported but it has proven difficult to crystallize the human form. The 40% sequence identity and structural similarity of the N and C terminal halves of apt reflected in the three dimensional structures suggests that they are the product of gene duplication.

Several talks focused on using powder diffraction to study antiquities including bronze statues in the Adriatic Sea (Stanko Popovic, Zagreb) the materials used to coat the external walls of the manor house Novo Celje (Mit Dobnikar, Ljubljana), and fragments of Pottery found near Belgrade (Darko Tibljars, Zagreb). New techniques for crystallization of zeolites from gels and their analysis by high resolute transmission electronic microscopy and as well as Xray diffraction were well described and beautifully illustrated (C. Kasonovic, Ljubljana). The chemistry involved in the inclusion of ion in the zeolites was also discussed (S. Bosnar, Zagreb). Anton Meden (Ljubljana) gave a fine example of determining the structure of a Mo-S-I nanowires that provided only two-dimensional data from which he teased a convincing three-dimensional structure. He used a handful of hexagonally shaped pencils to illustrate the model to good effect.

M. Fleck (Austria) has begun a thorough examination of the most essential biological molecule Glycine. He is studying of series of crystal structures in which Gly is present as a monodentate, bidentate, tridentate or bridging ligand. Of particular interest are chiral crystals in which the glycine molecule is either pro R or Pro S. His studies indicate that in all chiral crystal forms, complexation has led to a chiral selection. All crystals from a given sample have the same chiral form (all Pro R or all Pro S). This study may contribute to a new explanation of why we live in a world of proteins with L-chirality.

Kresimir Molcanov (Zagreb) who seems to do his best work around Valentine’s Day described assemblies of macrocyctic thialactones included a compound the takes up the shape of a heart when crystallized around February 14, but has alternate forms for other seasons. The heart shaped molecules are linked by C-H..O hydrogen bonds.

In a new study of cholic acid host/guest complexes Goron Stefanic (Zagreb) drew attention to a consistent pattern of P, crystallization in the space group P21 with an 8.OI ± O.2 Å b cell dimension in a series of complexes of extremely variable size and composition. He did not offer an explanation but hopes to have one by next year’s meeting in Croatia.

A field trip to Brdo, a baroque castle provided a pleasant afternoon of strolling in wonderful wooded grounds. Enthusiasm for the castle was tempered by the fact that it had been a private resident of Tito, that the German force had occupied it during the war, that Prince Andrew of Monaco had dined there. We were told that the Slovenian crystal in the castle was so wonderful that it needed to be protected from large groups such as ours. Perhaps most disconcerting was the fact that George Bush and Vladimir Puten had met there 5 years to the day before our visit.

William L. Duax