Meeting report

Guinier remembered

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The annual Meeting of the French Crystallographic Assn was held in Orsay, on the campus of the U. Paris XI, in July 2001. The meeting began with a tribute to André Guinier, renowned physicist and crystallographer, who died on July 3, 2000 [see the obituary in Acta Cryst. (2001) A57, 1-3].

A. Guinier was a pioneer in the investigation of local order and disorder in condensed matter. He was one of the first to understand, demonstrate and exploit the richness of the information contained in both small-angle and wide-angle diffuse scattering phenomena. In small-angle diffuse scattering, his name is associated with the co-discovery of the Guinier-Preston zones (small clusters of atoms that form during precipitation in age-hardening alloys). Wide-angle diffuse scattering reveals positional, chemical or occupational partial order. The first session of the meeting was devoted to an illustration of such phenomena, with recent results obtained in polymers, liquid crystals, glasses, proteins and charge-density wave systems.

Guinier, a member of the French Academy of Sciences, also played an important role in promoting and organizing physical sciences at the national and international level (he had been President of the IUCr (1966-69)). These diverse activities were evoked in a session chaired by H. Curien, President of the French Academy of Sciences, a physicist and crystallographer himself.

Three plenary lectures were given. M. Verdaguer (Paris) explained the role of crystallography in understanding the structural cause of magnetism, the properties of molecular magnets and the design of new materials. P.M. Alzari (Paris) described one of the national programs of research in genomics, 'Structural genomics of mycobacteria', reviewed other national and international genomic programs and emphasized that important technological advances are revolutionizing this field. J. Baruchel (Grenoble) gave an overview of the spectacular progress made in X–ray imaging methods, including phase imaging, use of coherent beams, time resolved imaging or topo-tomography.

Two plenary sessions on 'Interfacial membranes' and 'New tools for x-ray synchrotron and neutron research' were chaired by J.-L. Popot, T. Zemb and C. Fermon, J. Susini, respectively.

The rest of the program was distributed among eight parallel sessions covering the topics of structural inorganic and mineral chemistry (D. Grébille, chair), protein-protein interactions (M. Knossow, chair), artificial low-dimensional structures – interfaces (M. Sauvage-Simkin, chair), new methods for structural analysis in biology (A. Podjarny, chair), structural molecular and coordination chemistry (J.-C. Daran, chair), hot structures (M. Frey, chair), magnetism (B. Gillon, D. Givord, chairs), and structural pharmacology (J.-P. Samama, chair).

About 250 participants attended the Meeting organized by the French Crystallographic Assn and the Laboratoire de Physique des Solides in Orsay.

Roer Moret