Proud of our past, focusing on the future

Hanna Dąbkowska
Hanna (in red jumper) with Main Editors at the 2023 IUCr Journals Management Board meeting in Chester in March. Left to right, back: Sean Parkin (Acta Cryst. E), Kristina Kvashnina (Journal of Synchrotron Radiation), Mark van Raaij (Acta Cryst. F); middle: Sandy Blake (Acta Cryst. B), Randy Read (Acta Cryst. D), Bill Harrison (IUCrData), Thomas Proffen (Commissioning Editor), Loes Kroon-Batenburg (IUCrData); front: Janos Hajdu (Journal of Applied Crystallography), Elspeth Garman (Acta Cryst. D), Andrew Allen (IUCr Editor-in-chief), Simon Billinge (Acta Cryst. A). Paul Raithby (Acta Cryst. C) was not present for the photo. Photo by Ed Morgan, IUCr.

The 26th IUCr Congress is approaching fast. We are proud of the abstracts submitted already and I encourage you to take advantage of adding poster abstracts before the 31 May deadline. Posters are an amazing way of connecting with peers and colleagues; please make an effort during the meeting to talk to poster presenters about their work. Many of us have already booked our flights and accommodation in Melbourne. There are already about 1450 Early Bird registrants to the Congress. Please check the program at the Congress website, there are some groundbreaking presentations and very interesting workshops. The deadline for standard registration is 23 June but if you submit a poster and register by 31 May, you will receive the early bird rate!

I am looking forward to meeting Commission Chairs, this time in person, to discuss the many changes and updates that have happened since the Prague Congress. I am also looking forward to chatting with many of you as this is what I missed most in the last six years (since the Hyderabad Congress). I hope to hear your plans for this Union and for your own careers. I hope they are going in the same direction.

Once a triennium a great honor is bestowed on the IUCr President to inform the winners of IUCr Prizes about their achievement. I am very grateful to the many colleagues who took the time and effort to nominate the candidates. The competition was fierce and all four formidable Prize Committees had a challenging job in picking the final winners.

The 13th Ewald Prize was awarded to Professor Wayne Hendrickson from Columbia University (USA), who transformed and moved forward structural biology as he discovered and perfected resonant diffraction methods for determining the atomic-level structures of biological molecules, MAD (multiwavelength anomalous diffraction) and its single-wavelength variation SAD, critical for developing the field of structural genomics. Professor Hendrickson will present his award talk in person at the Opening Ceremony of the 26th IUCr Congress in Melbourne on Tuesday 22 August.

The 2nd W. H. & W. L. Bragg Prize was awarded to Professor Arkadiy Simonov from ETH Zürich (Switzerland) for developing the three-dimensional difference pair distribution function (3D-∆PDF) and applying it to solving important problems in materials science. This is the first general approach for refinement of the diffuse scattering contribution to single-crystal diffraction patterns. Professor Simonov will present his talk at the Congress on Monday 28 August.

The Struchkov Prize was awarded by the IUCr for the first time but it is a continuation of that established in 1997. It was granted to Dr Robert R. Fayzullin, from Arbuzov Institute of Organic and Physical Chemistry, FRC Kazan Scientific Center (Russia) for his work on real-space interpretation of chemical bonding by combining one-electron potentials and associated force fields derived from high-resolution X-ray diffraction data.

Jian-Min Zuo from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (USA) wins the 2023 Gjønnes Medal, awarded by the IUCr Commission on Electron Crystallography, for his outstanding contributions to the development and application of quantitative electron diffraction. His talk will be also presented at the Congress on Monday 28 August.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed in January 2023 between the IUCr, UNESCO and CNRS is the result of hard work by many respected colleagues [Claude Lecomte, Africa Initiative; Michele Zema, IUCr Executive Outreach Officer, LAAAMP; Andreas Roodt (SA); Patrice Kenfack (Cameroon) (see AFRAMED article in this issue); to name just a few]. This MoU will formalize the interactions of this document's signatories to determine the terms and modalities according to which they will cooperate for implementation of the project on “Providing Remote Access to Laboratory Equipment and Infrastructures for Africa.”

Please note that the next edition of the IUCr Crystal growing competition for schoolchildren has already been announced, with a deadline of 19 November 2023. Now is a good time to encourage children to get involved in science!

In mid-March, some of us met in Chester for a Journals Management Board meeting. The Editors and Managing Editors discussed how to make our 10 journals more attractive not only to this community but also beyond. As usual I encourage you all to publish at least once a year in IUCr Journals. All the activities developed by this not-for-profit Union, all the schools, meetings, outreach activities and the awards are financed by the income from the Journals and – on a much smaller scale – by personal donations. If you have any ideas of what new subjects should be introduced into the Journals please contact the Editor-in-chief, Dr Andrew Allen; the Executive Managing Editor, Peter Strickland; or the specific Journal.

[FC March 2023]The IUCr Finance Committee and Chester staff met in March 2023 in Aarhus, Denmark. Left to right: Bo Brummerstedt Iversen, Luc Van Meervelt, Santiago García-Granda, Joseph Ferrara, Hanna Dabkowska, Peter Strickland, Malcolm Cooper, Alex Stanley and Andrew Allen.

The IUCr Finance Committee met last week, discussing plans for the future in these challenging times. A slow post-COVID recovery and a recession looming in many countries call for limiting spending in different areas of our activities, which is never an easy decision.

Last but not least I would like to acknowledge the hard work our CEO is putting into this organization. Dr Alex Stanley joined the Chester staff in 2022, a pre-Congress year, which is always the most challenging time not to mention the added pressures imposed by the worldwide recession. Alex is doing an excellent job, she is full of enthusiasm and goodwill. I hope with your help she will be able to implement all her interesting ideas to modernize and push this organization into the fourth quarter of its centennial existence.

I wish you all the best this spring. Many challenges face each of us and the IUCr but together we will continue to achieve all our goals.

31 March 2023

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