Letter from the President
[Gautam Desiraju] Gautam R. Desiraju

The International Year of Crystallography has arrived after much anticipation and I extend my wishes to all our readers for a fulfilling and productive 2014. This year will re-define our identity as crystallographers and convey our identity to the world. The IYCr should facilitate good science everywhere and emphasize to youngsters the meaning and reasons for doing science.

The opening ceremony of IYCr2014 will be held at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris on 20th and 21st January, 2014. The program has a lecture by Nobel laureate Brian Kobilka and a talk on the past, present and future of crystallography by Jenny Glusker. Presentations on crystallography on Mars, a session on the BRICS countries and a special highlight on the contributions of young scientists from all over the world are also planned. Young crystallographers from the Ivory Coast, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, South Korea, Argentina, Poland and Denmark will speak and then participate in a panel discussion. Please treat this as a personal invitation to attend the opening ceremony.

The program of open labs is in full swing with the active involvement of all major vendors of crystallographic equipment. Many labs are confirmed and Claude Lecomte, IUCr Vice President, is coordinating the entire open lab effort. The summit meetings in Karachi (chemical crystallography), Campinas (macromolecular crystallography) and Bloemfontein (powder diffraction) are now confirmed. These meetings are open to all interested crystallographers and if you would like to attend, please visit the IUCr website. A crystal-growing competition for school children from every part of the world is also planned. This initiative is coordinated by Luc Van Meervelt, IUCr General Secretary and Treasurer. All countries are invited to participate in and to start their own national competitions. In India, we have brought out regional language brochures in parallel to the English language version of 'Crystallography Matters' and the translation effort has spread, with versions in German, French and the four important languages of the Balkans already on the anvil.

A significant recent development is the formation of the Latin American Crystallographic Association (LACA) at a meeting of Latin American crystallographers in Cordoba, Argentina. This ties into the IUCr’s recent decision to initiate a program for Latin America on the lines of our Africa program. Crystallographers from Brazil, Argentina and Mexico are playing a lead role but many other countries such as Venezuela, Uruguay, Chile, Cuba, Peru and Colombia are involved too. Jose Sabino (Brazil), Diego Lamas (Argentina) and Lauro Bucio (Mexico) are office bearers of a provisonal body that will draft a constitution for LACA, which will hopefully approach the IUCr to become a regional associate and thus join the ranks of ACA, ECA and AsCA. At Cordoba I found the message of crystallography firmly in place and feel that the future of crystallography is in Latin America, Africa and the Asia-Pacific.

Most of the activities for a successful year will be done at the regional level with our regional associates, at the national level through your country organizations, at the institutional level, and finally at the individual level. A number of institutional and individual efforts are already in place. What I would like to see is that they are recorded on the IYCr website. I request you to get in contact with Michele Zema (mz@iucr.org) about whatever you have done or are planning to do. It is up to each and every one of you to organize something, however small it may be, so that we can spread the message of our wonderful subject to people who will receive it well and to whom the message will make a difference.

Gautam R. Desiraju (desiraju@sscu.iisc.ernet.in)