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International Union of Crystallography

The IUCr is an International Scientific Union. Its objectives are to promote international cooperation in crystallography and to contribute to all aspects of crystallography, to promote international publication of crystallographic research, to facilitate standardization of methods, units, nomenclatures and symbols, and to form a focus for the relations of crystallography to other sciences.

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Special issue on Polyoxometalates

[me0669]The November 2018 issue of Acta Crystallographica Section C Structural Chemistry marks a special anniversary of an exciting class of inorganic compounds: polyoxometalates (POMs). In their Guest Editorial, José Ramón Galán-Mascarós and Ulrich Kortz note that the very first POM structure, the so-called Keggin ion ([PW12O40]3−), was structurally characterized by James F. Keggin 85 years ago in 1933 using powder X-ray diffraction. This was an important breakthrough for POM chemistry, as from then on structural aspects became more relevant and allowed the field to be developed more rationally. In the same year, Michael T. Pope was born, who went on to publish the book Heteropoly and Isopoly Oxometalates in 1983, widely agreed still to be the best introductory text to the field.

During the last half century or so, the development of POM chemistry has benefitted tremendously from single-crystal X-ray diffraction. Besides structural aspects, the study of the physicochemical properties of POMs has developed tremendously in recent decades. The multitude of attractive properties includes controllable size, composition, charge density, redox potential, acid strength, high thermal stability in the solid state, solubility in polar/nonpolar solvents and reversible electron/proton storage. Such versatility renders POMs of interest for academic and industrial applications, especially in catalysis but also in fields such as medicine, magnetism, photochemistry and materials science.

It is also worth mentioning how POM chemistry has contributed to the development of crystallography itself. The presence of POMs (in particular heteropolytungstates) in solution often allows large biomolecules to be crystallized, and facilitates X-ray structure solution and refinement due to their high symmetry, robust mol­ecular structure and heavy-atom content. The history of POMs has progressed from the seminal work of Keggin (working under the supervision of Lawrence Bragg and influenced by Linus Pauling) developing powder X-ray diffraction analysis in the early 20th century, to the role of POMs as cocrystallizing agents for large biologically relevant molecules, such as ribosomes, finally leading to the 2009 Nobel Prize in Chemistry (Ramakrishnan, Steitz and Yonath).

The contributions to this special issue on POMs provide an excellent overview of the current state of the subject, as well as providing updates to current research. Acta C is transforming from a structural (XRD) solid-state journal to a more general journal covering all aspects of structural chemistry, and the Guest Editors hope that this special issue on POMs will assist the journal in achieving its goals.

Posted 06 Nov 2018

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Thomas A. Steitz (1940-2018)

[Thomas A. Steitz]We are sorry to announce the death of Thomas Steitz, Sterling Professor of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry at Yale University, USA, at the age of 78. Dr Steitz shared the 2009 Nobel Prize for Chemistry with Venkatraman Ramakrishnan and Ada E. Yonath "for studies of the structure and function of the ribosome". He can be seen here giving his Plenary Lecture "From the Structure and Function of the Ribosome to New Antibiotics" at the IUCr Congress in Madrid, Spain, in 2011. Read the NY Times obituary here and that in YaleNews here.

Posted 26 Oct 2018 

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Diffractometer available

Georgia Cametti (University of Bern, Switzerland) would like to announce the availability of a CAD4/MACH3 Enraf Nonius diffractometer (Diffractis 585), purchased in 1980, with FR590 generator. The machine has been running until around one year ago but is being dismounted and removed from the laboratory within the next few weeks. If anyone is interested in acquiring the diffractometer or any spare parts from it for free, please contact Dr Cametti at georgia.cametti@krist.unibe.ch.

Posted 26 Oct 2018 

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Call for nominations for the twelfth Ewald Prize

[Ewald Prize]

The IUCr is pleased to invite nominations for the Ewald Prize for outstanding contributions to the science of crystallography. The Prize consists of a medal, a certificate and a financial award, and is presented once every three years during the triennial International Congresses of Crystallography.

The twelfth Prize, for which nominations are now being invited, will be presented at the Prague Congress in August 2020. Scientists who have made contributions of exceptional distinction to the science of crystallography are eligible for the Prize, irrespective of gender, nationality, age or experience. More information can be found here.

Nominations should be submitted electronically using the Ewald Prize Nomination Form to the IUCr Executive Secretary at execsec@iucr.org. The closing date is 31 August 2019.

Posted 25 Oct 2018 

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Jill Bradshaw (1968-2018)

[Jill Bradshaw]We are sorry to report the passing of Jill Bradshaw, following a long illness. Jill was a key member of staff in the IUCr Editorial Office in Chester, where she was the Managing Editor of Acta Crystallographica Section B. Jill joined us in the summer of 1993, following a spell as a production editor at Pergamon Press, where she worked after graduating from the University of Sheffield. Jill mainly acted as an editor on Acta Crystallographica Section B, and authors of this journal in particular will remember her for the efficient way that she handled their papers and the kind and diplomatic way in which she handled correspondence and queries.

In the summer this year, we celebrated Jill's 25th anniversary with the IUCr. Jill was determined to attend and, despite being unwell, was able to be cheerful and positive during a long afternoon of celebrations. All the staff in Chester will miss Jill - we have lost a highly valued colleague and friend.

Posted 10 Oct 2018 

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Gautam Desiraju awarded ISA Medal for Science 2018

[Gautam Desiraju]The Academic Board of the Institute of Advanced Studies (ISA) of the University of Bologna, Italy, has awarded the ISA Medal for Science 2018 to Professor Gautam R. Desiraju (IIS, Bangalore, India). The ISA Medal for Science is the highest honour awarded by the Institute to scholars who are acknowledged worldwide for their scientific stature and the broad impact of their research.

The award ceremony will take place on 12 October 2018 in the VIII centenario lecture hall. After receiving the ISA Medal from the Magnifico Rettore, Professor Desiraju will deliver the Lectio Magistralis "Science and society. What do they owe each other?". More information is available here.

Professor Desiraju served on the IUCr Executive Committee as President from 2011 to 2014 and as Immediate Past President until 2017, and was Chair of the 2017 IUCr Congress in Hyderabad, India. As a structural chemist, he has played a fundamental role in the development and growth of crystal engineering, bringing his expertise to IUCr Journals Acta Cryst. B and currently as Main Editor of IUCrJ.

Posted 09 Oct 2018