IUCr activities

[MathCryst]Commission on mathematical and theoretical crystallography

Formation of the Commission on Mathematical and Theoretical Crystallography (MaThCryst), was approved by the IUCr General Assembly in Florence. The Commission concentrates on classical topics like symmetry and its applications to modular structures, twins and phase transitions, topology and graph theory. Application to art and crystallography was the topic of a symposium on Moroccan ornaments organized by MaThCryst at ECM24 (Figure 1).

[MathCryst participants]Figure 1. Participants at the ECM-24 Satellite Meeting “The Enchanting Crystallography of Moroccan Ornaments” working on Zellij multipuzzle.
MaThCryst currently has ten members and five consultants and has a mailing list open to all crystallographers interested in Commission activities (www.lcm3b.uhp-nancy.fr/mathcryst/mailinglist.htm), where ideas and proposals for new activities can be submitted. Several meetings and schools have been organized (ECM22 satellite Budapest 2004; Nancy School 2005; ECM23 satellite Leuven, AsCA’06 satellite Tsukuba 2006, Havana School and ECM24 satellite Marrakech 2007) and others are being organized (Gargnano School 2008; ECM25 satellite Istanbul 2009). Special issues of Zeitschrift für Krist. (issue 2006/1) and Acta Cryst. A (2006/3) have contained articles related to some of these meetings.

Our website has didactic material from the conferences and topic-oriented pages. Cooperation with other commissions, in particular the Commission on Inorganic and Mineral Structures (CIMS) and the Teaching Commission, has proved especially fruitful. Meetings organized by the Commission have been well received by the participants, who often lack a solid background in fundamental aspects of crystallography, due to the reduction of crystallographic material in university courses. The recent school in Havana has also pointed out the urgent need for crystallographic training in some Latin American countries: the possibility of running future schools in that area is under consideration, subject mainly to the availability of suitable venues and local organizers. Increased activity in the Asian community is also a major focus of the Commission for the future.

Among forthcoming activities, it is particularly worth mentioning the publication of a book on “Graph Theory in Crystallography and Crystal Chemistry” (authors J.-G. Eon, W. Klee and J. Rutherford) that will appear in the series “Monographs on Crystallography” by IUCr/Oxford University Press in late 2008 / early 2009. A thematic school where this new publication will serve as textbook is also planned.

Massimo Nespolo, Chair of MaThCryst