Resources for crystallographic education

Educational web sites and resources of interest

Aperiodic crystallography

QuasiTiler 3.0, Geometry Center, University of Minnesota. QuasiTiler draws Penrose tilings and their generalizations.

Biological structures

Integrating biocrystallography into traditional biology and chemistry curricula, M. Jaskólski. J. Appl. Cryst. (2001). 34, 371-374 New academic courses for teaching protein crystallography to biology and chemistry students have been developed. They include model-building exercises using adapted general-purpose kits and application of Web tools for practical classes and for conducting educational/examination quizzes.
MSc in Structural Biology by Distance Learning, Crystallography, Department of Biological Sciences, Birkbeck, University of London. This distance learning MSc in Structural Molecular Biology provides graduate students with grounding in the structure of proteins, and the main techniques that are used to study protein structure.
PDB-101: Free resources for teachers, students, and the general public, . Features such as the Molecule of the Month and Understanding PDB data are tools for learning about the crystal structures of biomacromolecule s found in the PDB archive.

Community resources and social media

Crystallites blog, IUCr. An IUCr blog featuring news and current opinion in the crystallographic community
Facebook, IUCr. Keep up-to-date with the activities of the IUCr
Festival de la Cristalografía blog, Bernardo Herradón. It is a web initiative that will spread diverse information on crystallography, with data on research advances, educative material, audiovisual, news on crystallography, and so on.
LinkedIn Group, IUCr. This group is for all crystallographers, related researchers, scientists, academics, and professionals with an interest in examining the arrangement of atoms in solids
Open Access Crystallography Resource Portal, Peter Moeck and his research group. A web-portal to high quality open access crystallography resources (access to large collections of CIF, services of the Bilbao crystallographic server, ...

Crystal growth

Crystal Growing for Students, P. D. Boyle. A guide for school student looking for help in growing crystals for a school project
Growing Crystalline Trees, Harry Bhadeshia, University of Cambridge. Recipes for growing crystals on a cardboard template of a tree
Growing crystals at home (Выращивание кристаллов), Martynov Maxim, Dolgikh Rostislav. Crystal growing wiki: a resource about chemicals which can be used in growing crystals, not just in laboratories, but also at home
Growing Crystals That Will Make Your Crystallographer Happy, P. D. Boyle. A guide for graduate students and other researchers wanting to grow crystals suitable for X-ray structure determinations
Protein Crystallization Starter Kit, Jena Bioscience GmbH. The Protein Crystallization Starter Kit is designed to introduce students to the field of protein crystallization. It contains all material you need to start to grow great looking Lysozyme crystals - a real highlight in Biology or Chemistry courses!

Crystal structure analysis

Difference Patterson Tutorial, C. Brenner. PR 613: Protein Structure and Function - Structural Biology I
Internet Course: Structure Determination by Powder Diffractometry (SDPD), Universite du Maine, France. Learn how to determine a crystal structure from powder diffraction data with experts help
Various teaching material prepared by A. D. Hunter, A. D. Hunter. Includes a student friendly lab manual on using the SHELXTL (and to a lesser extent SHELX) package of single-crystal programs to solve routine crystal structures. Also available at
Webmineral, David Barthelmy. A mineralogical database and also a basic course on crystallography
XRayView, G. N. Phillips Lab, supported by W. M. Keck Foundation. a Teaching Aid for X-ray Crystallography

Crystals and their structures

Basic Crystallography Diagrams, B. Craig Taverner.
Crystallographic Topology 101, C. K. Johnson. The Topology of Crystallographic Groups and Simple Crystal Structures
CrystalOgraph, Nicolas Schoeni and Gervais Chapuis. An interactive applet for drawing crystal structures
CrystalViewer, CrystalMaker Software Ltd. Free educational crystal structure visualization software for students - includes a built-in library of 120+ reference structures.
Escher Web Sketch, Nicolas Schoeni, Wes Hardaker and Gervais Chapuis. Escher Web Sketch allows you to draw repeating patterns
Introduction to the symmetry of polyhedra, Nicolas Schoeni and Gervais Chapuis.


Cristallographie - Diffraction, J.-P. Lauriat. In French
Optical Transforms, T. R. Welberry. Tool for illustrating a wide variety of diffraction phenomena from Bragg diffraction,through diffuse scattering from disordered and amorphous systems to diffraction from quasicrystals with non-crystallographic symmetry
X-ray Anomalous Scattering, Ethan A Merritt. An introductory tutorial to anomalous scattering and a general tool for designing experiments based on anomalous scattering

Distance teaching

Crystallographic CourseWare, M. E. Kastner. Instructions on growing single crystals, symmetry elements, plane groups, unit cell and asymmetric units, and reading the International Tables of Crystallography
General crystallography teaching resources, Martin Martinez-Ripoll. Webpage designed to attract beginners to the fascinating world of Crystallography. Different chapters present fundamental concepts illustrated with many figures and animations. Topics include structure of crystals, X-rays, symmetry and lattices, scattering and diffraction (comparing old and recent experimental developments), structural resolution, the meaning of the structural model, computing, etc., without forgetting its historical context. Moreover, these web pages are offered in both English and Spanish.

General crystallography

250 questions to a crystallographer, Gervais Chapuis. A collection of answers questions on crystallography asked by users of the online forum Quora. Topics include symmetry, diffraction, reciprocal space, crystal chemistry, lattice planes, Miller indices and others.
Crystallography for beginners, Martin Martinez-Ripoll. A website in two languages (English & Spanish) for learning fundamentals of Crystallography
Decor, CCDC. Online resource for the sharing and borrowing of educational resources for crystallography. This resource originated from the DECOR project set up by Mike Zdilla at Temple University


Bragg Centenary Lectures, University of Manchester. A series of lectures to mark the centenary of the birth of Sir Lawrence Bragg was held in the Rutherford Lecture Theatre of the Universioty of Manchester on 21 March 1990. Recorded video of these lectures is available. The programme includes talks by Henry Lipson, Nevill Mott, Arnold Beevers, Mike Hart, Dorothy Hodgkin, John Helliwell and Sergey Kapitza.
Celebrating Crystallography, The Royal Institution, 12foot6, STFC. NA Join us on an animated journey through the 100 year history of crystallography -- from the pioneering work of William and Lawrence Bragg in 1913 to the surface of Mars! Narrated by structural biologist Stephen Curry and produced by animation company 12foot6, the film explores the extraordinary history of crystallography. To date 28 Nobel Prizes have been awarded to projects related to the field and X-ray crystallography remains the foremost technique in determining the structures of a huge range of complex molecules. This film was produced in celebration of the Bragg Centenary and was funded by STFC. Watch more science videos on the amazing Ri Channel:
The Discovery of the Molecular Structure of DNA - The Double Helix, Nobel Media, Nobel Media AB 2013. Web. 6 Mar 2014. Timeline of contributions and contributors to the understanding of the structure of DNA; the contribution of Rosalind Franklin is well described.
Virtual museum of the history of mineralogy and crystallography, Paul Tambuyser and Claude Hootelé. Descriptions of instruments, books, crystal models, goniometers illustrating the history of mineralogy and crystallography

International Tables for Crystallography

The 17 plane groups, IUCr. The diagrams and tables of data for the plane groups (two-dimensional space groups), as listed in International Tables for Crystallography Volume A, are useful for teaching students about space-group symmetry and are freely available in both html and pdf formats.


Incoherent neutron scattering from multi-element materials, C. J. Glinka. J. Appl. Cryst. (2011). 44, 618-624 The differences and distinguishing characteristics of incoherent scattering vis-à-vis diffuse coherent scattering due to atomic disorder are delineated and demonstrated experimentally.
Teaching with the case study method to promote active learning in a small molecule crystallography course for chemistry students, Michael G. Campbell, Tamara M. Powers, and Shao-Liang Zheng. J. Chem. Edu. (2016). 93, 270– 274 Implementing the case study method in a practical X-ray crystallography course designed for graduate or upper-level undergraduate chemistry students is described. Compared with a traditional lecture format, assigning small groups of students to examine literature case studies encourages more active engagement with the course material and stimulates improved class discussion. In particular, a judicious selection of case studies either from high-profile publications or from literature directly pertaining to students’ fields of research allows students to draw an immediate connection between the lecture material and their own academic/research interests.
POLYNET - a teaching program for the plane crystallographic groups, for use on Apple Macintosh computers, S. G. Hoggar. J. Appl. Cryst. (1996). 28, 459
Three-dimensional periodicity and inversion axes in crystals, B. D. Sharma. J. Appl. Cryst. (1995). 28, 223
FOURDEM: a program written as an aid to teaching the elements of Fourier synthesis and other crystallographic concepts, T. R. Welberry and K. Owen. J. Appl. Cryst. (1992). 25, 443-447
An introductory exercise in Fourier synthesis and structure-factor calculation for undergraduates, using an EXCEL workbook, M. R. Taylor. J. Appl. Cryst. (2000). 33, 975-976
Jmol - a paradigm shift in crystallographic visualization, R. M. Hanson. J. Appl. Cryst. (2010). 43, 1250-1260 Features of Jmol that allow new ways for students to interact with three-dimensional virtual models and explore molecular and crystallographic symmetry are described.
Optimized Schedule for Large Crystallography Meetings, Y. Le Page. J. Appl. Cryst. (1996). 29, 291-295
Peak Decomposition using Pearson Type VII Function, S. K. Gupta. J. Appl. Cryst. (1998). 31, 474-476
Teaching Diffraction with the Aid of Computer Simulations, R. B. Neder and Th. Proffen. J. Appl. Cryst. (1996). 29, 727-735
Pepinsky's Machine: an interactive graphics-based Fourier synthesis program with applications in teaching and research, N. M. Glykos. J. Appl. Cryst. (1999). 32, 821-823
Crystallization bench, B. Cabric and T. Pavlovic. J. Appl. Cryst. (2000). 33, 387-388
Derivation of the rotation matrix in general rectilinear systems by means of vector and matrix formalism, K. Stróz. J. Appl. Cryst. (1996). 29, 736-737
Interactive Web-based tools for an introductory course in crystallography, G. Chapuis and W. Hardaker. J. Appl. Cryst. (1999). 32, 1164-1168
Introduction to crystallography: two-dimensional computer simulations, B. D. Hall and T. Stoto. J. Appl. Cryst. (1998). 31, 477-480

Mathematical techniques

Crystallographic Teaching Fourier Map MS Excel Spreadsheets, Max Taylor. This includes Example Notes and spreadsheet for students based around a potassium bicarbonate example.
Interactive course on crystallographic calculations (in French), Y. Epelboin. Reciprocal space, distance between planes...
Pepinsky's Machine, N. M. Glykos. A teaching aid to illustrate the principles and the application of the Fourier series in crystallography
Statistical Descriptors in Crystallography, D. Schwarzenbach et al. Reports of a working group appointed by the IUCr Nomenclature Committee
Transformée de Fourier, Y. Epelboin. A theoretical course on the Fourier transform and its computation (In French)
Worked examples in the Geometry of Crystals, H. K. D. H. Bhadeshia. The book deals with the mathematical crystallography of materials. It is intended for use by students and by anyone interested in phase transformations or interfaces.

Online courses

Course on Crystals and SymmetryThe Fascination of Crystals and Symmetry, Frank Hoffmann and Michael Sartor. The course “The Fascination of Crystals and Symmetry” was carried out twice as a MOOC (“Massive Open Online Course”) at the iversity plattform. We decided to make the course material permanent publicly available, by transfering the video lectures / screencasts to this YouTube channel and provide the slides and transcripts as PDFs on this accompanying website:

Physical properties

Group theory of vibrational modes, A.M. Glazer. J. Appl. Cryst. (2009), 42. 1194-1196 Free computer program to compute vibrational modes from crystal structures

Powder diffraction

The number of good reflections in a powder pattern, D. S. Sivia. J. Appl. Cryst. (2000). 33, 1295-1301
Advanced Certificate in Powder Diffraction on the Web, Birkbeck College, University of London.


CoSyM: Continuous Symmetry Measures, Inbal Tuvi-Arad. Measuring the degree of symmetry, of chirality, and of polyhedral shapes
Discovering Symmetry, Nicolas Schoeni and Gervais Chapuis. An applet to discover the point group symmetry of platonic and other polyhedra
Escher Web Sketch, W. Hardecker and G. Chapuis. A program for drawing 2D periodic patterns with a web browser.
Interactive PDF files with embedded 3D designs as support material to study the 32 crystallographic point groups, Victor Arribas, Lluís Casas, Eugènia Estop, Manuel Labrador. Each file illustrates a point symmetry group and can be used to teach/learn essential symmetry concepts and the International Hermann-Mauguin notation; standard stereographic projection is included in the files. Computers & Geosciences (2014). 62, 53-61.
Quiztallography app, Lluís Casas, Eugènia Estop, M. Labrador.. A quiz with more than 1000 questions, often including interactive 3D-polyhedra, to test your skills in point-symmetry in an entertaining way.
Space Group Visualizer, Christian Perwass and Eckhard Hitzer. Software that visualizes all 230 space groups in 3D
Symmetry and Space Group Tutorial, Jerry P. Jasinski and Bruce M. Foxman.
Symmetry Tutorial, Dean H. Johnston, Otterbein College. Includes a symmetry challenge and symmetry gallery
Symétrie des figures périodiques, H. Schenk. Translation in French of a programmed course on periodicity and symmetry