Meeting report (IUCr supported)
2018 Powder Diffraction and Rietveld Refinement School
The 2018 Powder Diffraction and Rietveld Refinement School (Durham, UK; 8-12 April 2018) combined lectures, small-group tutorials and hands-on computer practical sessions. The lectures introduced the basic concepts of crystallography, powder diffraction and Rietveld refinement. Both by-hand and computer-based tutorials were problem-based learning oriented. For each hour of lectures there was at least an hour scheduled for small-group problems that were led by lecturers and tutors who helped reinforce the concepts. The remaining ~50% of the course was spent with students working through computer practicals at their own pace. There were over 70 computer-based problems and exercises available on a range of different topics, from basic peak fitting and powder-pattern indexing to advanced state-of-the-art diffraction data analysis methodologies, including parametric/surface fitting and distortion mode analysis. The structure of the course is such that everyone was introduced to and given some training in all aspects of crystallography (and data collection using different types of sources on different types of samples), but ultimately had the flexibility to spend more time learning and practising the material most relevant to their own research areas.
The international dimension
Funding received from the IUCr supported the attendance of seven early-career scientists: Anne Whitworth (Monash University, Australia), Mauro Coduri (ESRF, France), Katarzyna Kosyl (Institute of Physics, Polish Academy of Sciences, Poland), Evgeny Filatov Nikolaev (Inorganic Chemistry Institute, Russia), Eleonora Isotta (Trento University, Italy), Joaquin Grassi (Republica University, Uruguay) and Van Huan Doan (Hanoi University of Mining and Geology, Vietnam). In addition, we managed to secure additional support from industry and Durham University, which helped more international students attend the School. In fact, overseas participants constituted 31 out of 64 students (48%); they came from 20 different foreign countries (in Europe, North America, South America, Asia and Australia): France, Vietnam, Russia, Germany, Switzerland, Romania, Uruguay, Denmark, Korea, Poland, India, Mexico, Australia, Sweden, Canada, Italy, Slovenia, Norway, USA and Japan. In addition, 10 of the remaining participants were overseas students pursuing their PhDs at UK institutions, some of whom are likely to return to their home countries and disseminate the knowledge acquired here. This brings the total international participation at Durham PDRR 2018 to 41 out of 64 participants (64%), and reflects the true scale of the international character of the School.
We believe that the School was a success and addressed a need for key training in the UK and internationally.
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