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XIV Annual Meeting and X School of the Argentinean Association of Crystallography

Daniel Vega
[X School]
Professors, tutors and participants at the X School of the AACr, “X-ray diffraction in the study of phase transitions”.

The XIV Annual Meeting of the Argentinean Association of Crystallography (AACr) was held from 31 October to 2 November 2018 at the Centro Atómico Constituyentes, Comisión Nacional de Energía Atómica (CNEA, Atomic National Commission) Buenos Aires, Argentina. There were 148 registered participants from Argentina and several Latin American countries. The plenary lectures were presented by Mario Amzel (Johns Hopkins University, USA), María Lidia Herrera (UNSAM, Argentina), Gastón Garbarino (ESRF, France), Florean Meneau (LNLS, Brazil) and Mike Glazer (Oxford University, UK). Moreover, 11 semi-plenary talks, 18 oral contributions and 57 posters completed the event. Those participants in the poster session had the opportunity to give a 2 minute talk in a “Rapid Fire” session, which gave young scientists the opportunity to invite every participant to attend their poster. The topics addressed were very broad, including structure determination of organic, inorganic and coordination compounds; crystal architecture and design; phase transitions; solid solutions; structure–property relationships; synergy of diffraction and complementary techniques; and history. The meeting was a space to promote academic activity, allowing the discussion of scientific research, knowledge exchange and the generation of new collaborations. At the close of the meeting, a tribute was paid to Dr Bonfiglioli, a recently deceased crystallographer, who developed a large part of his work in this CNEA. The tribute was given by Aldo Craievich.

[XIV Annual Meeting]Participants at the XIV Annual Meeting of the AACr.
[Semi-plenary talk]A semi-plenary talk during the XIV Annual Meeting of the AACr.

Following the Meeting, the X School of the AACr was held at the same location from 5 to 9 November. On this occasion, the School addressed “X-ray diffraction in the study of phase transitions” and 30 students had the opportunity to attend lectures by Professor Glazer, an expert on the subject, financed by the IUCr Visiting Professorship scheme. In addition, Leopoldo Suescun (from Uruguay) was in charge of the introduction to symmetry and space groups.

[Mike Glazer]Mike Glazer during a lecture.

The Local Organizing Committee obtained financial support from the IUCr, Bioanalytica-Rigaku, Jenck-Shimadzu and the local funding agency: Ministerio de Ciencia y Tecnología. The event brought together 30 participants (postdocs, PhD, MSc and undergraduate students) from different countries: Argentina (17), Bolivia (1), Colombia (5), Cuba (1), Ecuador (1), Guatemala (1), Venezuela (2) and Uruguay (2). They all had the chance to learn the fundamentals of phase transitions and the use of X-ray diffraction techniques as an invaluable tool for the study of the associated structural details. For the practical aspects of the school the participants made use of a Bruker D8 Quest Eco diffractometer, installed in 2018, and APEX3 software and an Oxford Cryostream 800 Plus system. Thus, the participants experienced all the processes of single-crystal X-ray diffraction, from crystal selection and mounting, with practice samples and data. The students also had the opportunity to follow a temperature-driven phase transition using a Malvern Panalytical Empyrean diffractometer with a PIXcel3D detector and an Anton Paar hot stage.

[Liliana Mogni]Liliana Mogni at the experimental tutorial session.

The school program consisted of a 40 hour schedule (24 hours of lectures, 14 for experimental and practical tutorial sessions and 2 for a final exam). A second questionnaire was given to the students, to be worked on at home and returned one week after the School had finished. This two-step exam was taken by 28 participants, who will receive academic credit for their participation in the School.

The students were asked for their opinions on different aspects of the School in an anonymous survey. The large majority of comments were positive, many of them including helpful remarks that will be a valuable help in the organization of future schools. 

6 March 2019