Growing pressure for progress: activities of the IUCr Commission on High Pressure

Kamil Dziubek
Incumbent CHP members and consultants, and the local workshop chairs at the 2018 CHP Workshop in Honolulu. From left to right: Przemysław Dera (2018 CHP Workshop chair), Kamil Dziubek, Ronald Miletich (2019 CHP Workshop Chair), Andrzej Katrusiak, Amy Lazicki, Guoyin Shen and Haozhe Liu.

Since the 17th IUCr Congress in Seattle in 1996, the IUCr Commission on High Pressure (CHP) has been working on the promotion of extreme conditions crystallography – a vibrant multidisciplinary field with relevance to different disciplines including Earth and planetary science, chemistry, physics, material research, nanotechnology and biology. Whereas it is not possible to present here a detailed account of the Commission's activity, it is worth noting some major initiatives that have taken place.

The CHP has been organizing annual workshops each year since its inception, except for the years of IUCr Congresses. In 2015 and 2016 the workshops were held at the sites of synchrotron light sources: LLNS in Campinas, Brazil (local organizer Narcizo Souza-Neto) and PAL in Pohang, South Korea (local organizer Yongjae Lee), respectively. Remarkably, the meeting in Brazil was most probably the first international high-pressure crystallographic event in the Southern Hemisphere. The last two workshops took place in venues known for establishing top high-pressure labs. In 2018, it was hosted in University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa (USA) by Przemysław Dera and accompanied by a full day of high-pressure single-crystal data analysis training. In 2019 the workshop was organized in Vienna, Austria, by Ronald Miletich and for the first time it was held jointly under the auspices of both CHP and European Crystallographic Association SIG-11 (Crystallography under Extreme Conditions) as a satellite event to the 32nd European Crystallographic Meeting.

Furthermore, the CHP members have been active in the organization of other meetings, schools and workshops. One of the most prestigious and important of these is the International School of Crystallography held on an annual basis in Erice, Italy. So far, three courses were devoted to high-pressure studies: in 2003 (directors Andrzej Katrusiak and Paul McMillan), 2009 (directors Elena Boldyreva and Przemysław Dera) and 2016 (directors Francesca Fabbiani, John Parise and Malcolm Guthrie). The next high-pressure Erice school is planned for 2022, with Kamil Dziubek, Shanti Deemyad and Helen Maynard-Casely serving as the directors. Another remarkable event was the 26th International Conference on High Pressure Science and Technology (AIRAPT) co-organized in 2017 in Beijing, China, by the incumbent CHP Chair, Haozhe Liu. And this summer saw the IUCr/DKG High-Pressure School take place in Bayreuth, Germany - see article in this issue here.

The promotion of high-pressure crystallography was also achieved through publication of a special issue of Acta Cryst. B on Non-ambient Crystallography in 2014 (Guest Editors: David Billing and Andrzej Katrusiak). Recently, the informative CHP website has been completely redesigned and launched on the IUCr servers with the invaluable support of the IUCr Research and Development Officer, Brian McMahon. The web resource provides the CHP terms of reference, public documents including annual reports, information on past events and the calendar of forthcoming meetings. Moreover, a public mailing list has been set up for discussing ideas on high-pressure research and as a platform to announce forthcoming meetings or events and disseminate information about open job positions and involvement opportunities. It is fitting here to express sincere appreciation and gratitude to two former CHP members: Ingo Loa who served for many years as the previous CHP home page webmaster and John Loveday who maintained the old mailing list. Another ongoing task of CHP is proposing high-pressure data and metadata descriptors and guidelines for metadata depositions, in line with the IUCr Committee on Data recommendations.

As a final note, it is with great pleasure to announce that the next CHP workshop, the IUCr High-Pressure Workshop 2021, will be held from 1 to 6 February 2021 in Novosibirsk, Russia, and organized by Elena Boldyreva, one of the world’s leading high-pressure researchers, former CHP member and former IUCr Executive Committee member. Given the COVID-19 pandemic situation, the workshop will be held online using Zoom software. Its purpose is to bring together scientists working in the field of high-pressure crystallography to discuss the latest achievements in fundamental research, techniques and practical applications. Special attention is being given to educational aspects: a number of tutorials are planned, as well as a special session for young scientists. Participation is free for all registered participants. The deadline for submissions is 15 January for posters, 31 January for participation without a contribution, and 31 December for applications for oral contributions, the number of which is limited. More detailed information about the event is available on the workshop website.


Note: the names of former and current CHP members participating in numerous activities are highlighted in boldface.


Kamil Filip Dziubek is Secretary of the IUCr Commission on High Pressure.
21 November 2020

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