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The First Poster Session

N. V. Belov at the VII Congress and General Assembly of the IUCr in Stony Brook, NY, USA, August 1969. (Photo courtesy R. Rudman)

The Eighth General Assembly and International Congress of the International Union of Crystallography was held in August 1969 at Stony Brook, NY, USA. I was Chairman and Organizer of the Noncommercial Exhibit. This was usually a small exhibit, since it is rather inconvenient to bring apparatus to a meeting, especially for out-of-country exhibitors. In an attempt to increase participation and coverage of the devices built and described between the VIIth and VIIIth Congresses, I contacted everyone who had published appropriate papers over the previous three years in the Journal of Applied Crystallography and the Review of Scientific Instruments. I suggested that if they could not bring or send the apparatus for exhibit, then they could send posters, reprints and/or preprints in which the devices were described. Over 100 letters were sent out and 51 responses (from 15 countries) were received in which 57 exhibits were described. Of these, 27 involved exhibits of both apparatus and descriptive material and 30 submitted only descriptive material. The posters, as well as the apparatus, were displayed for the duration of the meeting and many discussions took place in front of the posters. To the best of my knowledge, this was the first Poster Presentation at a scientific conference.

To our surprise, Professor N. V. Belov, who was then President of the IUCr, showed up with a beautiful poster in honor of W. L. Bragg's study of  minerals. "If W. L. Bragg was the founder of the crystal chemistry of silicates, N. V. Belov (1891-1982) was the creator of its 'Second Chapter'. He and his students determined the structures of more than 500 naturally occurring and synthetic compounds" [Acta Cryst. A38, 561-562 (1982)]. His admiration for Bragg's work was understandable and it was our privilege to add this poster to our exhibit. At one quiet moment during what must have been a very hectic meeting for him, I was able to photograph him contemplating his summary of a lifetime of research.

Reuben Rudman
Adelphi U., Garden City, NY, USA