Recent news from the European Crystallographic Association

Arie van der Lee
From left to right: Andy Maloney, Klaudia Hradil, Arie van der Lee, Marijana Daković, Antonia Neels, Angela Altomare (IUCr representative), Consiglia Tedesco. Photo taken by Gilberto Artioli in front of the building of the Dipartimento di Geoscienze of the University of Padova.

Future event planning 

After the very successful European Crystallographic Meeting in Versailles (ECM33), France, in August 2022, activities moved along at a slower pace but were not completely absent. The ECA Executive Committee met in Padova, Italy, from 17 to 19 February 2023, where we were hosted by the chair of the 34th European Crystallographic Meeting (ECM34), Gilberto Artioli, and visited Padova’s brand new Congress Center, where the meeting will take place in 2024. Progress in the organization of future ECA events (ECM35, Lviv; ECS8, Berlin, July 2023; ECS9, Nancy, June 2024) was discussed also with the different organizers. A bid for the organization of a European Crystallography School in North Macedonia in 2025 will probably be submitted so that it can be discussed and voted on during this year’s annual Council Meeting, which will be held virtually in September 2023.

ECA Prizes

The ECA Executive Committee also considered the way the ECA’s prizes are attributed and how to increase the attractiveness of the prizes. We had discussions with the Council, the young crystallographers in Versailles and colleagues of the boards of the American Crystallographic Association (ACA) and the European Neutron Scattering Association (ENSA). Following these discussions, new guidelines will be drafted and presented at the forthcoming Council Meeting. We will also announce the birth of one or two new prizes.

2023 Erwin Félix Lewy Bertaut Prize

The 2023 Erwin Félix Lewy Bertaut Prize was awarded to Dr Matilde Saura-Múzquiz, currently at Department of Materials Physics, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain. The ECA and ENSA jointly award the Bertaut Prize in memory of the scientific achievements of the late Erwin Félix Lewy Bertaut, representing cornerstones in both crystallography and neutron scattering. Dr Saura-Múzquiz has impressive early-career contributions in the field of the crystallography of functional materials. The Bertaut Prize ceremony took place in Garching, Germany, during the European Conference on Neutron Scattering 2023.

For more information, please see the article in this Newsletter here

2023 ECA SIG4 Publication Award

The ECA’s Special Interest Group 4 (Electron Crystallography) has introduced recently a publication award in order to facilitate the advancement of electron crystallography methods and to encourage the exploration of innovative applications. The first awardees are Meng Ge, Taimin Yang, Hongyi Xu, Xiaodong Zou and Zhehao Huang (Department of Materials and Environmental Chemistry, Stockholm University, Sweden) for their paper "Direct Location of Organic Molecules in Framework Materials by Three-Dimensional Electron Diffraction", published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society. The prize was announced at the Electron Crystallography Workshop held in Antwerp, Belgium, on 30–31 May 2023.

For more information, please see the article in this Newsletter here

Gender balance and equity statement

Work is in progress to establish a gender balance and equity statement by the ECA, which should be taken not only into consideration for the ECA’s own events, such as ECMs and ECSs, but also as a condition to receive financial support for non-ECA events. The ECA’s General Interest Group 3 (Education in Crystallography) is making a proposal that will be edited by the Executive Committee before discussion at the Council Meeting in September 2023.

Lunchtime webinars

The successful series of ECA lunchtime webinars has, at the time of writing (May 2023), reached its 21st edition. The ECA’s young crystallographers organize this series, and it will continue to be held after the summer. Another series of webinars, Distinguished Lectures on Quantum Crystallography and Complementary Fields, initiated by the ECA’s Special Interest Group 2 (Quantum Crystallography) and the IUCr Commission on Quantum Crystallography, continued as well: seven webinars have taken place since April 2022, usually with two lectures during the same webinar.

Crystallography in Africa

The ECA continues to support the development of crystallography in Africa. The African Crystallographic Association (AfCA) was established in 2021. With respect to National Membership, AfCA and ECA have decided that the ECA’s African National Members may remain ECA National Members as long as they wish. The ECA was represented by its secretary, Andy Maloney, at the 3rd African Conference on Crystallography in Nairobi, Kenya, from 17 to 21 January 2023. The ECA’s National Member Officer, Delia Haynes, was, of course, also present in Nairobi in her role as AfCA’s Executive Committee president.

ECA members are also involved in the AFRAMED/Remote labs project led by its past president Claude Lecomte who has initiated this exciting development aiming to train African crystallographers in the techniques of single-crystal diffraction in laboratories equipped with single-crystal diffractometers elsewhere and to give them the opportunity to run their own experiments by remote access to the diffractometer in the distant laboratory. This project was launched in Nancy, France, on 31 August 2022.

2 June 2023

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