32nd European Crystallography Meeting

Marijana Đaković
[Max Perutz Prize]
The 11th Max Perutz Prize was presented to Elspeth Garman (centre) at the Opening Ceremony by ECA President Udo Heinemann (right) and the chair of the Max Perutz Prize Committee and ECA Vice President Marijana Đaković.

The 32nd European Crystallographic Meeting (ECM32) took place in the beautiful city of Vienna, Austria, from 18 to 23 August 2019, and gathered 1061 crystallographers from 48 countries, including more than 200 students and 76 exhibitors.

[ECM32 Opening Ceremony](l-r) Klaudia Hradil, Kristina Djinovic-Carugo and Ronald Miletich, Chairs of the ECM32 Organizing Committee, open the meeting.

The Opening Ceremony was held in the historic Main Building of the University of Vienna, the conference venue. This site, located within Vienna's historic centre, and with its numerous lecture halls and impressive ceremonial chamber rooms, offered a unique and historical flair during the conference. The meeting attendees were welcomed by Udo Heinemann, President of the European Crystallographic Association (ECA); Arndt von Haeseler, Dean of the Center of Molecular Biology and Director of Max Perutz Labs (a representative of the Rectorate of the University of Vienna); Johannes Fröhlich, Vice-Rector for Research of the TU Wien; João Alves, Vice-Dean of Faculty of Earth Sciences, Geography and Astronomy (UNIVIE); Veronika Somoza, Vice-Dean of Faculty of Chemistry (UNIVIE); Karlheinz Schwarz, National Committee for Crystallography of the Austrian Academy of Sciences; and Kristina Djinovic Carugo, Klaudia Hradil and Ronald Miletich, Chairs of ECM32. During the Opening Ceremony, the 11th Max Perutz Prize was awarded to Elspeth Garman (University of Oxford, UK), for her contribution to the field of macromolecular crystallography. In her award lecture, she addressed the development of methods for cryo-crystallography and methods for monitoring and mitigating radiation damage in protein crystals. The ceremony was accompanied by several musical interludes provided by the Pacher family brass septet Mission ImBRASSible.

[ECM32 lunch break]Participants during the lunch break.

Over the four days of the conference, the attendees enjoyed an attractive scientific programme consisting of 48 microsymposia and 16 keynote lectures, and two poster sessions based on more than 780 submitted abstracts, covering the latest advances in crystallography and related sciences. The programme was launched by the plenary lecture ‘Prokaryotic Cytoskeletons’ given by Jan Löwe (MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, UK), and the attendees were then able to enjoy four vibrant days of exciting science, a number of lunchtime meetings (Crystallographic Software Fayre and a variety of sponsored luncheon workshops) and several well-attended social events.

[ECM32 Gala Dinner]The Conference Dinner at Schönbrunn Palace Orangery.

The Conference Dinner took place in the orangery of the famous Schönbrunn Palace, the main summer residence of the Habsburg Emperors, which accommodated over 300 attendees. The Young Crystallographers Mixer took place on the 6th Floor Rooftop Terrace of the TU Wien where over 70 enthusiastic participants had a chance to relax and make new friends with the help of a light informal dinner and DJ entertainment. The attendees had also an opportunity to enjoy famous classical music pieces by great Austrian composers, performed by the TU Wien Orchestra in the wonderful atmosphere of the Votivkirche, located close to the conference venue. Social events were complemented by the Viennese Waltz Dancing Course, taking place at the lunchtime breaks, and a number of organized excursions and tours, among which there were tours to MedAustron in Wiener Neustadt and to the Atominstitut of the TU Wien.

[ECM32 Gala Dinner 2]The organizers at the Conference Dinner.

After its successful launch at ECM30 in Basel, the Science Slam was organised again at ECM32. The best and most entertaining 3-minute presentation, determined by the loudest applause from the audience, received an award sponsored by Stoe & Cie GmbH.

At ECM32, the Alajos Kálmán Prize was awarded for the first time. The prize was established by the Hungarian Chemical Society and endorsed by ECA, and was awarded to Luigi Nassimbeni (University of Cape Town, South Africa).

[ECM32 IUCr Travel Awards]IUCr Travel Award recipients at the Closing Ceremony.

The scientific programme was closed by the plenary lecture 'Quantum Crystallographic Studies of Advanced Materials' given by Bo Brummerstedt Iversen (Aarhus University, Denmark). At the Closing Ceremony, poster prizes were awarded to 16 young scientists (the list is available here). Besides the main conference, 15 well-attended satellite workshops were held at TU Wien:

  • 26th WIEN2K Workshop
  • X-ray Spectrometry
  • Data Science Skills in Publishing – IUCr Committee on Data
  • CCP4 Structure Solution Workshop
  • MaThCryst Satellite Meeting
  • Neutron Scattering and Imaging
  • CrysAC Workshop – IUCr Commission on Crystallography in Art and Cultural Heritage
  • IUCr and ECA High Pressure Workshop
  • Young Crystallographers Satellite Meeting
  • Olex2 Workshop
  • Total Scattering Analysis with DISCUS
  • European Crystallographic Computing Forum – SIG-9
  • Fixed Target Serial Crystallography
  • Low Resolution Structure Determination with Phenix
  • Crystal Engineering using the Cambridge Structural Database

ECM32 continued an important initiative, started at ECM31 in Oviedo, to provide a free child-care facility for children of in-advance registered attendees, and the meeting gathered a total of 1231 participants, including children, accompanying persons and volunteering students.

13 December 2019

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