Meeting report

Zürich School of Crystallography. Bring Your Own Crystals

Zürich, Switzerland, June-July, 2008

The second Zürich School of Crystallography was intended for Masters and Ph.D. students, and postdocs in the molecular and solid-state sciences, who do not have access to crystallographic courses at their own institution. The twenty participants (12 women and 8 men) came from Croatia, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Switzerland and Turkey. The personal impressions of one of the students are given below.

Tony Linden, Hans-Beat Bürgi, School Directors

The Zürich School of Crystallography 2008 – The Meaning Behind the Numbers: A Student’s Perspective

[Zurich School attendees and tutors]
For me crystallography is a tool for the investigation of the conformational and host-guest properties of my compounds, as well as an analytical method, alongside NMR and mass spectroscopy, for the confirmation of the structure of my synthesis product. However, determining a crystal structure requires training and knowledge before it can be done reliably. I had some experience in solving crystal structures, but wasn’t able to make the connection between routinely done procedures and theory, which was the reason for attending the Zurich School of Crystallography. The course covered growing single crystals, collecting and processing data, solving and validating the structure and reporting the results. The theoretical information seemed overwhelming but during the practical sessions, it was easier to see where the theory came into play. I was extremely grateful to have the help of the tutors when I was puzzled about something. The small size of the group made the learning environment intimate and it was possible to get to know everyone involved. It was great to meet people from different areas (and countries) and I especially enjoyed the discussions at the end of the day. Before attending the school, I used to check crystallographic parameters without understanding the meaning behind the numbers. Now I feel more confident in evaluating my crystal structure solutions. In every respect, I was very pleased with the school and gained more than I had anticipated.

Kirsi Salorinne