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Letter from the President

[Yuji Ohashi]In 1948, the IUCr held its first General Assembly and Congress at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA. Only 310 crystallographers attended and 83 papers were presented. There were only four Adhering Bodies: Canada, Norway, UK and USA. The history of the IUCr is clearly described by D.W.J. Cruickshank in an article that forms the first chapter of Crystallography Across the Sciences, a Special Issue of Acta Crystallographica Section A [Acta Cryst. (1998), A54, 687-696] edited by H. Schenk and published in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the IUCr in 1998. This article is also available from the IUCr web pages (

Since then, 60 years will have passed by the time of the next IUCr Congress to be held at Osaka, Japan, in 2008. The number of the participants is expected to be 3,000 and the number of Adhering Bodies is now 40. Both numbers are ten times larger than those at the time of the Harvard Congress. Moreover, the IUCr now publishes eight scientific journals; of these, Acta Crystallographica Sections A and B and the Journal of Applied Crystallography will have been published for 40 years in 2008. At its meeting in Leuven this summer the Executive Committee decided to hold some commemorative events celebrating both the 60th anniversary of the IUCr and the 40th anniversaries of Acta A, Acta B and JAC.

The first will be the publication of a Special Issue of Acta A as the first issue of 2008. The papers will be reviews with a personal touch and emphasize the influence of crystallography in different fields of research. The entire issue will be open access making it freely available on the web. Henk Schenk has agreed to edit this Special Issue in collaboration with the Editor of Acta A (Dieter Schwarzenbach) and the Editor-in-Chief (Gernot Kostorz). 30 potential authors have already been contacted. The second celebration will be a 60th Anniversary Ceremony, Crystallography in Life, to be held in Osaka just before the Opening Ceremony of the 21st General Assembly and Congress in 2008 to highlight how much crystallography has contributed to human development. Several crystallographers, including Nobel Prize laureates, will be invited to make presentations at the ceremony. The President and the Executive Committee are making the plans.

The third is a photographic exhibition. Over the years Bill Duax has taken many photographs, not only at IUCr Congresses but also at many local or special crystallographic meetings. Chris Gilmore, Gernot Heger and Syd Hall also have many photographs involving the Regional Associates and other specialized meetings and the Chester office has photographs from the early days of IUCr. Selected photographs will be exhibited in a special room at the Osaka Congress.

None of these events will be successful without useful suggestions from crystallographers all over the world. The Executive Committee heartily welcomes constructive suggestions for the celebRatory events mentioned above.

Yuji Ohashi,