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International Summer School of Crystallography 2019 – Fundamentals of Crystallography

Wolfgang Brehm

The International Summer School of Crystallography 2019 – Fundamentals of Crystallography (ISSC19) took place in Hamburg, Germany, from 2 to 8 June 2019, following the format of the previous school in 2016. There were 34 students from Europe and abroad that took part, filling all the available spots.

The lecture series on the fundamentals of crystallography – symmetry, space groups, Fourier transforms, diffraction – presented by Carmelo Giacovazzo was supplemented by talks from Arwen Pearson, Professor Henry Chapman, Kay Diederichs, Thomas White and Pablo Bereciartua Perez. The additional talks expanded the scope to applied methods and statistics, and generalized the previously presented concepts. This provided prospects for practical applications and additional motivation.

During the lectures and the short exercises there was time for discussion and questions from the students. Many students stayed long after the lectures and the talks to interact with the speakers, who were happy to try and help them with their scientific problems.

There was some time for social events, which the students used to network and relax. The barbecue on the first day brought everyone together to get to know each other. On Wednesday afternoon we visited FLASH (a free-electron laser), REGAE (a relativistic electron gun for atomic exploration) and PETRA (a positron–electron tandem-ring facility) on the DESY (Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron) premises and took a harbour boat trip, which was widely enjoyed.

At the end of the course, the participants filled in an evaluation form. The responses were largely positive and the feedback indicates that they are much more informed about the fundamentals of crystallography thanks to the course. Based on the feedback, we concluded that the three-year hiatus was too long and that the school should ideally be held every two years.

21 August 2019