Meeting report

Frontiers of Crystallography

Novosibirsk, Russia, October 2013

The Novosibirsk State U. (NSU) Institutes of Geology and Mineralogy and Solid-State Chemistry and Mechano-Chemistry, Russian Academy of Sciences (SRAS), and the IUCr supported the Advanced School organized in Novosibirsk, October 2-6 2013, and dedicated to the International Year of Crystallography. Agilent organized a satellite seminar on instruments for high-pressure diffraction. Stoe maintained instruments (Stoe STADI-4 equipped with Ag tube, IPDS2T, IPDSII, STADI-MP) that were used during the school. The principles of the diamond anvil cell (DAC) operation were explained using different models produced by Almax-Easy Lab [H. Ahsbahs (Marburg), R. Miletich (Wien) and A. Kurnosov (Bayreuth)].

[RAS participants] A group of participants and lecturers at the Inst. of Geology and Mineralogy Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of sciences.

The school hosted 37 young participants from Russia, Germany, Japan, Nigeria and the United Kingdom. There were no attendance fees and 10 participants received partial or complete support for travel and lodging from the IUCr. 13 lecturers from Russia, the UK, Germany, Spain, Austria, Italy, Canada and Sweden presented lectures, tutorials and demonstrations in the multi-faceted and coherent program. Most of the lecturers covered their own expenses. The IUCr visiting professorship programs supported two of the lectures and partial support came from the NSU.

[Audience School 162] At Secondary School No. 162 after the lecture by Professor Juan Manuel Garcia Ruiz.

Events for the general public and children were also organized. J. M. Garcia Ruiz gave evening lectures at the Science Café 'Eureka' and a lecture on crystallography for school children. The movie 'The mystery of giant crystals' was shown and awards for the best questions and answers following the lectures were given.

The three main topics of the School were crystal growth in nature, the laboratory and industry, high-pressure crystallography and aperiodic structures.

The first topic included lectures on mineral growth patterns (J. M Garcia Ruiz, Spain); magnetic oxides (H. Dabkowski, Canada); crystal growth of minerals at high pressure (A. Shatsky, Russia); high-pressure synthesis of super-hard nano polycrystalline diamonds (K. Litasov, Russia); artificial diamonds (Y. Palyanov, Russia); and 'Where do diamonds grow?' (R. Angel, Italy). The attendees visited the Mineralogical Museum of the Inst. of Geology and Mineralogy (SRRS), as well as the facilities used to grow large single crystals of artificial minerals (BARS, a multi-anvil large volume press).

E. Boldyreva (Russia) discussed supramolecular systems, and C. Pulham (UK) addressed energetic materials. R. C. Miletech (Austria), R. Angel (Italy), C. Hejny (Austria), K. Friese (Germany) and A. Grzechnik (Germany) presented lectures, demos and tutorials on all aspects of high-pressure diffraction techniques, including creating and measuring pressure in the diamond anvil cell, sample preparation, data collection, data processing, structure solution, structure refinement, precise measurement of cell parameters and preparing data for publication. A. Kurnsosov (Germany) gave a lecture on the combination of high-pressure X-ray diffraction with Brillouin spectroscopy, and B. Zakharov (Russia) spoke on combining high-pressure X-ray diffraction with Raman spectroscopy. R. Angel lectured on elastic tensors and bulk moduli and the effect of non-hydrostatic stress on cell parameters.

The topic of twins and aperiodic structures studied at ambient and high-pressure conditions featured a presentation on twin structures and super space by K. Friese (Germany). N. Bolotina (Russia) introduced JANA and held tutorials, during which some of the students determined the crystal structures of their own samples! S. Lidin (Sweden) lectured on modulations in intermetallics and powder refinement of modulated structures. Many participants will long remember that 'reciprocal space is the best place to stay' and 'the dark ages of crystallography' were those when people did not care to look at their structures in reciprocal space.

The week was filled with intensive learning, making new scientific contacts, cultural events and peaceful walks in the autumn forests of Akademgorodok.

Elena Boldyreva