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Now is the time!

Hanna Dąbkowska
From left to right: David Rose, ACA Immediate Past President; Hanna Dabkowska, IUCr President; and Bill Duax, former IUCr President/Newsletter Editor, at the IUCr booth during ACA2022.

In the last six months I have done a lot of things we were not encouraged to do at the height of pandemic.

I was able to attend IN PERSON two IUCr Finance Committee meetings and one IUCr Executive Committee meeting as well as two — very well organized — Regional Associate meetings, both in amazingly beautiful locations: ACA2022 in Portland, OR, USA (hybrid meeting, 480 in-person and 83 online participants, organized by Brandon Mercado, S. Powell, Anna Gardberg and Carla Slebodnick) and ECM33 in Versailles, France (about 900 participants, chaired by Sylvain Ravy, Andy Thompson and Jean-Paul Itié).

[Fig. 1]
Left: An ACA Fellows meeting in Portland in 2022. Right: Manfred Weiss, IUCr Executive Committee member; Marvin Hackert, former IUCr President; Gerald Audette, ACA Canadian Representative; Amy Sarjeant, Acta Cryst. C Co-editor; and Hanna Dabkowska, IUCr President, at the IUCr booth during ACA2022.

I took part in the 7th European Conference on Crystal Growth (ECCG7), professionally organized by Matias Velazquez in Paris, France.

[Fig. 2]
Left: ECCG7 Chair Matias Velazquez and Hanna Dabkowska during the gala dinner cruise on the Seine. Right: A meeting of the IUCr Commission on Crystal Growth and Characterization of Materials in Paris in July 2022.

I also participated in the recent IUCr Journals Management Board meeting (by Zoom). I was impressed by the huge amount of innovative work being done for the IUCr Journals under the leadership of Andrew Allen and Peter Strickland.

I met a lot of cool people with crystallography at heart: researchers, students, young scientists, volunteers, our staff — I mean I met many of you.

And — as usual — I am full of admiration for the great science you are all doing and for the innovative ways you are sharing your knowledge. Sharing with your peers, students and colleagues — on site and in other countries. I feel a lot of enthusiasm; I hope it will translate into many successful publications — contributing to many successful careers — not only in crystallography but also in the very diversified area of structural sciences.

We are just coming out of the pandemic and are still in the shadow of the devastating war in Ukraina but please realize the following:

Now is the time to strengthen collaboration among different countries and institutions.

Now is the time to enlighten many of our colleagues (proud physicists, chemists, biochemists and engineers) that their research is based on an appropriate understanding of (crystallographic) structure of any material they are working on.

Now is the time to organize a School or a Workshop. The Executive Committee of the IUCr has decided to rename the Calendar Committee (the proper name was Sub-committee on the Union Calendar) to Meeting Support Committee (MSC). I assume that this is a good decision as the new name better reflects what we are doing. Here I would like to thank Graciela Díaz de Delgado and the whole Calendar Committee team for the work well done in a very difficult time. At the same time I welcome Manfred Weiss as the new MSC Chair.

Now is the time to persuade your student to sign up for an (IUCr-supported) specific School or Workshop and to enrol in the World Directory of Crystallographers.

Now is the time to register for the Melbourne Congress, plan your contribution, check the program and decide how you want to participate.

Now is the time to spread our wings and encourage African researchers to continue developing research of their own. I admire the tireless work that Claude Lecomte, Michele Zema, Susan Bourne, JuanMa García-Ruiz, Yuki Kimura, Dave Billing and many others are doing in Africa. The African Crystallographic Association (AfCA), under the leadership of Delia Haynes, is expected to join the IUCr as a Regional Associate as soon as in Melbourne.

Now is also the time to engage with a science teacher in your local high school to take part in a local crystal growth competition (see here for an example recently reported in the IUCr Newsletter) — or any other of your favourite scientific activities.

I sincerely hope that you nominated a colleague or student for one of the IUCr Prizes (as when this Newsletter is published the deadline will have already passed). You can still make up your mind and think about a worthy candidate for the future.

We are the IUCr. We create and nourish global partnerships for developing structural science. We invent tools that other scientists are using. Our Journals and International Tables provide unparalleled expertise for a diverse approach to structural science. Our colleagues and partners build sophisticated equipment that — with a push of a button — solves difficult structures. And — with our Schools and Workshops — we create a community that understands that plenty of creativity and knowledge is needed to connect this “difficult to solve structure” with a real-world challenge: a new virus, a potential new drug, an efficient battery material or a low-cost, easily disposable food container.

And now is our time to do it all.

9 October 2022

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