IYCr 2014

What does the International Year of Crystallography mean for you?

[Michele Zema] Michele Zema

This issue of the IUCr Newsletter is the first to host a special section dedicated to the International Year of Crystallography (IYCr2014). This section will accompany us in the next issues and throughout 2014. It will be the place for all crystallographers to keep informed about and get involved in the activities arranged to celebrate IYCr2014. There are a few months to go before IYCr2014 officially starts with the Opening Ceremony on January 20-21, 2014 at the UNESCO Building in Paris (see here). These are months that many of us are dedicating to the planning of a variety of initiatives, such as exhibitions, workshops, conferences, special publications, activities for school children and the design of postage stamps. It is now time that all these events are connected in a network through the iycr2014.org website to gain the highest visibility.

The iycr2014.org website needs the contribution of all active crystallographers to grow: you can now find an easy procedure for uploading information about the event you are organizing on the IYCr2014 Calendar or List of events. These can then be browsed by date, place or category. Each country participating in IYCr2014 celebrations has its own space on the iycr2014.org website (see Directory of contacts or Events by country). The national and regional coordinators are now working to set up these pages. National working teams are being formed specifically for IYCr2014 activities, and I would like to stress here the importance that all communities related to crystallography are represented. Who is 'eligible' to celebrate IYCr2014? Just think of scientific societies for mineralogy, synchrotron light, structural biology and chemistry, physics and so on. In many countries, these are very active and include many crystallographers: that’s why in my letter to the coordinators of regional and national associations I asked them to invite representatives to join the working teams and act as go-betweens with their societies.

[Map] Countries that adhere to the IUCr are shown in red.

Furthermore, one of the aims of IYCr2014 is certainly to provide access to crystallographic knowledge and technology to many more people in the world, and that is the reason why most of the activities the IUCr is conducting — in a friendly and active collaboration with UNESCO — will involve countries in the developing regions. As pointed out by the IUCr President in his Letter, many countries, in particular in Africa and Latin America, do not adhere to the IUCr (see map). Hopefully, IYCr2014 will allow our community to grow and welcome more people and new countries under the umbrella of the IUCr.

Starting with the next issue of the IUCr Newsletter, a column will be launched titled 'What does the International Year of Crystallography mean for you?' Everybody is invited to give her/his thoughts about this. Please send your contribution to iycr2014@iucr.org. All contributions will be collected on the iycr2014.org web site and a few selected letters will be regularly published in the IUCr Newsletter in this IYCr2014 section. When I first thought about IYCr2014, three words came to my mind: celebrate, disseminate and innovate. If IYCr2014 was only a (well-deserved) celebration of the past century from the birth of X-ray crystallography, then it would have generated only scarce interest. We should instead join our efforts to make 2014 mark the beginning of a new century, with new challenges and frontiers to be explored, and exploit the opportunity of IYCr2014 for the popularization and dissemination of crystallography.

I look forward to receiving your ideas, suggestions and comments, and wish us all a successful IYCr2014.

Michele Zema (mz@iucr.org)
IUCr Project Manager for IYCr2014