Letter from the President
They say time passes quickly when you are having fun – I certainly feel that way about 2014. It hardly seems possible that it was over a year ago that many of us gathered in Paris at the UNESCO headquarters to officially usher in the International Year of Crystallography (IYCr2014). The IUCr hired Michele Zema as Project Manager for IYCr2014, and he and the Chester staff have done a fantastic job promoting and coordinating IYCr events. The IYCr website contains a wealth of information on the activities and history of crystallography that will remain a lasting legacy. A recent visit to the IYCr 'events/events by category' website illustrates the magnitude of our world-wide celebrations, listing over 500 IYCr events. Many of these like the OpenLabs and summit meetings have been a partnership between the IUCr, UNESCO and our industrial and institutional sponsors. The website reports on 16 OpenLabs, 3 summits, over 30 activities for school children, hundreds of workshops, symposia and conferences, and over two dozen competitions. Many of these events have taken place in the developing parts of the world where the use and power of crystallography is only recently being realized.
Crystallographers around the world were encouraged and challenged to celebrate IYCr2014, and they have responded in myriad ways. For example, Helen Maynard-Casely (Australia) led an unusual public outreach project called Crystallography 365. Each day during 2014 a different crystal structure was presented and described on the blog at http://crystallography365.wordpress.com/ (see examples on the cover of this issue). Among the contests, Josefina Perles (Spain) promoted an appreciation for the inherent beauty of crystal structures with a contest called Art Within Your Crystals. The purpose of this contest was to showcase the hidden beauty inside crystals, by representing their inner structures with artistic images. If you know of other examples where individuals made outstanding contributions towards the celebration of IYCr, please let us know so we can recognize their efforts and make sure that all these events are included on our website.
As wonderful as IYCr2014 was, it is now 2015. The IUCr is looking at ways to preserve the legacy of IYCr and to sustain the excitement of IYCr with a new set of initiatives. Additional OpenLabs are already planned for 2015. We hope to build on the momentum of the three summit meetings by continuing to build capacity in developing regions and continue many of our public outreach activities. In Montreal the IUCr announced the creation of the IYCr Legacy Fund. I hope those who can, will join me in giving to this fund to support the many worthy initiatives launched during IYCr2014. In lieu of a 'closing' ceremony for IYCr, a Crystallography for the Next Generation: the Legacy of IYCr conference is being organized by Abdelmalek Thalal, Michele Zema and Claude Lecomte to be held in Rabat, Morocco on April 22–24, 2015 (see ad on page 4). This conference is aimed at reviewing activities associated with IYCr - what was successful, what was not so successful etc., to plan how to transform many of these activities into sustainable programs. To encourage attendance, there is no registration fee. We invite all interested and able to attend to join us, and welcome input from all, including those who cannot attend. We also welcome sponsors to help underwrite the costs of this conference.
I am also pleased to report that Claude Lecomte has agreed to continue to lead our Crystallography in Africa Initiative. This initiative has provided training in crystallographic teaching and research methods to faculty members and students from many disadvantaged parts of the world, most recently in Cameroon, the Republic of the Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the Ivory Coast, and soon in Senegal, Burkina Faso and Gabon. New operational laboratories have been installed with instrumentation supplied by our industrial partners.
Finally, I would like to mention that plans are underway for the IUCr 2017 (XXIV Congress and General Assembly) in Hyderabad. The EC will meet in August to appoint the International Programme Committee. Gautam Desiraju has contacted our Commissions to solicit ideas for nominees for this important committee. As you consider individuals to nominate for the IPC, I remind you that we want individuals who can represent their field well, but I also urge you to keep in mind the importance that our Commissions and Committees represent the diversity of our community – this includes gender balance as well as geographic and area factors.
I look forward to what we can accomplish in 2015. Please do not hesitate to contact me or any member of the EC with your concerns, comments or suggestions for how the IUCr can work more effectively to serve you.Marvin L. Hackert (firstname.lastname@example.org)