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Hot Topics in Contemporary Crystallography 3 - HTCC3

Ana Šantić

The third Hot Topics in Contemporary Crystallography workshop (HTCC3), held in Bol, Croatia, from 23 to 27 September 2018, was organized by the Croatian Association of Crystallographers, as were its second (HTCC2, Poreč, 22-26 April 2017) and first (HTCC1, Šibenik, 10-15 May 2014) editions. The main sponsor of the workshop was Bruker AXS Inc. and it was also supported by DECTRIS, Crystals, PLIVA and the Ministry of Science and Education of the Republic of Croatia. With the ambition to tackle the most fascinating achievements in experimental methods and theoretical approaches in modern crystallography, HTCC3 put the focus on the three carefully selected "hot topics": (i) crystallography under extreme conditions (HT1), (ii) total scattering and PDF analysis of complex materials (HT2) and (iii) dynamical crystallography (HT3). Each of these topics was presented and discussed through an intensive full-day programme of lectures and hands-on sessions conducted by the leading experts in the field:

HT1 (24 September): Elena Boldyreva (Institute of Solid State Chemistry and Mechanochemistry SB RAS, University of Novosibirsk, Russia), Simon Parsons (Centre for Science at Extreme Conditions, University of Edinburgh, UK), Michael Probert (University of Newcastle, UK).

HT2 (25 September): Simon Billinge (Brookhaven National Laboratory, Columbia University, USA), Emil Božin (Brookhaven National Laboratory, USA), Matthew Tucker (Oak Ridge National Laboratory, USA).

HT3 (26 September): Christian Bressler (European XFEL Unit, Hamburg, Germany), Michael Först (Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter CFEL, Germany).

In addition, two tutors for the hands-on sessions, Boris Zakharov (Novosibirsk State University, Russia) and Marshall McDonnell (Oak Ridge National Laboratory, USA) were involved in HT1 and HT2.

HTCC3 in numbers

Altogether, HTCC3 had 48 participants: 31 students, 8 lecturers, 6 organizers, 2 tutors and 1 sponsor representative. The participants came from 11 countries: Croatia (21), Germany (5), UK (4), USA (4), Russia (4), Poland (2), Czech Republic (2), Slovenia (1), Canada (1), Israel (1) and Ireland (1). The overall gender distribution of the participants was 65% male and 35% female.

Best poster awards

[HTCC3 poster prizes]Best poster winners: Matic Lozinšek (left), Eugenia V. Peresypkina (middle) and Giulia Novelli (right).

The poster session contained 18 presentations, which were displayed throughout the duration of the workshop. The presented posters covered diverse research topics within the field of crystallography. The best poster award was given for three categories:

1) The DECTRIS best poster award, which focused on an innovative approach to solving problems, collaborative spirit and knowledge sharing, was given to Matic Lozinšek (Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Technology, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia) for his research on "Novel Krypton Compounds", authored by M. Lozinšek, H. P. A. Mercier and G. J. Schrobilgen. The award winner received 100 Euros and an opportunity to promote his work in the form of a short article on the DECTRIS website.

2) The IUCr Journals best poster award, consisting of a certificate and a copy of Symmetry Aspects of M. C. Escher’s Periodic Drawings, was given to Eugenia V. Peresypkina (Institute of Inorganic Chemistry, University of Regensburg, Germany) for her research in the field of coordination chemistry presented under the title “Supramolecular Zoo”, authored by E. V. Peresypkina, A. V. Virovets and M. Scheer.

3) The Crystals best poster award focused on excellence in research, clarity of presentation, and personal knowledge and understanding of the matter. The award was given to Giulia Novelli (School of Chemistry and Centre for Science at Extreme Conditions, University of Edinburgh, UK) for her work on “Carbon Molecules in Space: a Thermal Equation of State Study of Solid Hexamethylentetramine”, authored by G. Novelli, H. Maynard-Casely, K. Kamenev, W. G. Marshall, G. McIntyre and S. Parsons.

IUCr sponsorship

The IUCr generously supported HTCC3, enabling the Organizing Committee to allocate eight bursaries to the utterly motivated students. All of them expressed their appreciation to the IUCr Young Scientist Award and stated their benefits from attending HTCC3. Some of their personal statements are given below:

Jelena Vukašinović (PhD student, University of Belgrade, Serbia)
The HTCC3 workshop has been completed successfully. It was a great honor to participate and listen to the lectures of all of the experts in the field of crystallography. Thanks to the bursary of the IUCr I had the opportunity to learn a lot about the role of crystallography, which was almost completely unfamiliar to me, and - moreover - to get to know how to process the data through the newest software. In my previous work I didn't know how to use some of the necessary programs or I didn't have access to them. Now, I am familiar with many of them and that will for sure help me in my future work, especially for the detailed study of crystalline structures. Also, the lectures gave me ideas on how to expand my work and maybe even follow some new directions. During the workshop I became friends with many new colleagues with whom I exchanged opinions and ideas and I hope that in the future we will have successful collaborations.

Nico Giordano (PhD student, University of Edinburgh, UK)
I attended the HTCC3 workshop in Bol as a final-year PhD student. I found the school informative and useful in consolidating my knowledge in my field of study: high-pressure crystallography. It was also great to learn about the use of other techniques including the hot new topic of free-electron lasers. I think the three topics covered provided a lot of opportunity for me to think and discuss the options I have as I take the next steps in my career. Without the bursary I would not have been able to attend the school and I am extremely thankful to the organisers, lecturers and sponsors of HTCC3. Thank you.

Anna Gaydamaka (Master student, Novosibirsk State University, Russia)
Dear Organizers of HTCC3: I would like to thank you for this perfect event. My participation would not have been possible without the bursary (IUCr award for young scientists). I appreciate it. The HTCC3 was a great experience for me to get familiar with the advanced methods of contemporary crystallography from the experts in these fields. Hot topics 2 and 3 were absolutely new for me, so it was very interesting and useful (Hot topic 1 was of course also very interesting). One more thing: most of the lecturers not only use the methods but also create and develop special software and hardware. I think, the choice of topics and lecturers was effective. Moreover, the operative work of all organization team should be noted. Thank you very much again.

Robert Katava (PhD student, University of Zagreb, Croatia)
I would like to express gratitude to the IUCr and the organizers for giving me a bursary and enabling my participation at HTCC3. All three hot topics, lectures and hands-on sessions from experts gave me a valuable insight into the latest developments in the fields of crystallography, material physics and structural chemistry. Currently, I am a third-year student of Doctoral studies in the field of Inorganic and Structural Chemistry. For me, most useful were the lectures and hands-on sessions regarding extreme conditions. Investigations of intermolecular and intramolecular interactions of organic and complex compounds represent an important part of my research. Investigating such interactions under non-ambient conditions could help me expand my knowledge and prove extremely valuable in the continuation of my scientific career.

Irina Konyaeva (PhD student, National Research Tomsk Polytechnic University, Russia)
Dear Organizers: Thank you for your kind invitation and of course the bursary. I was a beginner in crystallography but due to this unique opportunity, I have learned a lot about this method. My only criticism would be that in the practicals, there was no difference between beginners and advanced scientists. In my opinion, this bursary is a good chance for students to up their skill in crystallography.

Nikola Ilić (PhD student, University of Belgrade, Serbia)
At the end of the HTCC3, I would like to point out once again how pleased I am for having the opportunity to attend this workshop with the financial support of the IUCr. All the organized lectures were of very high quality. They did not exactly match my field of expertise and current scientific work as I mostly study ceramic materials but they gave me a great insight into the field of monocrystals and organic crystals, some ideas for future work and an excellent introduction into work with the most popular software for data processing and simulations. I have also used the chance to meet several new people from all over Europe and we spent all our free time exploring the island of Bol together and discussing our scientific work.”

In conclusion, HTCC3 was a successful workshop with highly motivated participants, enthusiastic lecturers, a vibrant atmosphere and good organization.

22 January 2019