Crystallography Matters!

Resources for crystallographic education

An article commenting on this pamphlet has been published in Journal of Applied Crystallography: L. Suescun and M. Nespolo (2012). From patterns to space groups and the eigensymmetry of crystallographic orbits: a reinterpretation of some symmetry diagrams in IUCr Teaching Pamphlet No. 14. J. Appl. Cryst. 45, 834-837 [ doi:10.1107/S002188981201998X]

Space group patterns

M. W. Meier

ETH Zurich, Switzerland

Teaching aims

For teaching students how to recognize a space group and how to tackle related problems arising in practice (such as different settings, subgroup relations).


Should be useful in crystallography courses at an elementary or intermediate level, particularly when the emphasis is on practical rather than mathematical aspects.


Some knowledge of the elements of crystallography is assumed. The topic is best preceded by an exercise on plane groups using readily available periodic patterns (such as suitable gift wrapping paper).

Practical resources

The work sheets have been specially designed for easy duplication which is permitted for personal use only. (Actual reprinting of the worksheets is subject to copyright restrictions.)

Time required for teaching

An appropriate selection of space groups will take up one or two practical sessions depending on the level of the course.