It has been 23 years since Andre Authier gave me the privilege of launching the Newsletter of the IUCr. The formats and content were initially developed by me and modified and developed further by Patti Potter and Judy Flippen-Anderson. Some of the features that I have thought most useful have been the special issues on crystallography in member countries of the Union, summaries of the proceedings of the triennial Congresses of the Union and annual meetings of the three regional affiliates (ECA, AsCA, and ACA), and announcement of future meetings. Two years ago we made a major change in the distribution policy, providing online access to as many readers as possible in order to expand readership and reduce production costs while still serving our advertisers and the corporate community that supports our science so generously.
Given the remarkable advances in publication and communication technology in the past 23 years, we thought it a good idea to survey our readers about their opinion of the newsletter and how we might modify its content, appearance and formats to better serve our community.
In the last issue of the Newsletter we asked readers to complete a short survey to assist in planning its future. The response has not been overwhelming. If you have valued the Newsletter in the past 23 years, I would appreciate it very much if you would complete the survey (www.surveymonkey.com/r/iucrnewsletter2015). I would like to see the IUCr Newsletter outlive me and serve the crystallographic community for the next 100 years. Your opinion would be valued.
As a further incentive, the names of those returning signed surveys will be collected for a drawing. Five individuals will receive their choice of registration to a meeting of the IUCr, AsCA, ACA or ECM, or a set of the transactions of the ACA.
This issue contains another in the series of articles about Crystallography in a member country of the international union. We hope the article about Norway by Bjørn Pederson, the first from a Scandinavian country, will inspire others to follow suit. It would be especially nice to receive articles from two of the oldest and must active countries in the Union, Germany and France. I found the article on Norway especially entertaining since it brought to light yet another Nobel Prize winning diffraction scientist whose name is missing from lists that were compiled during the IYCr.
Odd Hassel shared a Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Derek Barton in 1969 for his determination of the structure of cyclohexane in 1930 by electron diffraction. When I asked for more information about Hassel, Bjørn wrote:
'Hassel published his first paper on the structure of cyclohexane in 1930 trying out different methods to obtain the structure starting by measuring the dipole moment. He was first successful by using electron diffraction after building the necessary equipment and theory together with his students from 1938. The paper that earned him the Nobel prize is said to have been a short paper he published in 1943. That was in the middle of the war and Norway was occupied by Germany. Hassel would not publish in German and was denied publishing in English so the 1943 paper was published in Norwegian in Tidsskrift for kjemi, bervesen og metallurgi 3 (1943), 32-34. The title was: Cycloheksanproblemet. In October the same year he was arrested by the Germans and placed in a prison camp just outside Oslo together with several of his colleagues at the University. He was released after a year and was not sent to Germany as many of his colleagues and students (were).'
During the IYCr and at the Montreal IUCr Congress many crystallographers spoke with pride of the many women who have been leaders of the field and how this came about due to the openness with which they were welcomed to the field in its early days by leading male crystallographers in England. It would appear that such openness is more to be praised than pursued. Brian Toby, chairman of the USNNCR in his report on the General Assembly notes:
'At the GA we lost two excellent women on the Executive Committee and did not add any new female members. It is important, valuable and simply right to strive for diversity on IUCr commissions and committees: this includes gender balance as well as geographic and area factors. To address this, the national committees need to put forward a set of highly qualified individuals to run for elections that address all these areas where diversity is needed.”
(Editor’s note) There were excellent female candidates but women were outnumbered among the voting delegates and entirely absent from the delegations of many member countries.William L. Duax