From the editor's desk

[Etched tumbler]

The cover of this issue highlights the annual meetings of the three regional affiliates of the IUCr where the most recent, reliable and exciting structural chemistry, biochemistry and materials science will be reported months before it will appear in Science, Nature and leading primary journals in the field. Join the excitement at the meeting closest to you or travel to England, Hawaii or Hong Kong to meet old friends in a new part of the world. The beautiful mineral crystals on the cover are from countries of the three regional affiliates. The images are taken from the book Color Treasury of Crystals with text by Vincenzo DeMichele of the Natural History Museum of Milan, published by Instituto Geografico De Agostini in 1972 with the translation published by Orbis Publishing Ltd, London, in 1979. The book contains a brief discussion of crystal systems illustrated with mineral examples of each crystal system. The calcite from Cumberland, England, is triclinic, the twinned quartz crystal from Otomezaka, Japan, is trigonal, and the tetragonal wulfenite from Arizona shows tetrad symmetry. Crystallography has been used to characterize minerals for centuries and the book stresses the enormous variety and beauty of the minerals on earth. I was pleased to rediscover the book on the eve of the International Year of Crystallography.

In this issue IUCr President, Gautam Desiraju, has offered his candidate for a very important crystal, selected by him in part due to its connection to India. Luc Van Meervelt has also offered his choice of an important crystal.

I repeat my invitation to all readers of the IUCr newsletter to identify a crystal that is important to you for any reason and write a paragraph explaining why it matters to you, to crystallography, to science or to mankind. A picture of the crystal of your choice would be appreciated but is not essential. The names of those who send in suggestions in the next three months will be put in a hat. A name will be drawn from the hat and Abino Mills Glassworks of Buffalo will prepare four glass mugs with an etching of the structure in the crystal of your choice for the winner.

William L. Duax