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2015: Crystallography matters … more!

[Michele Zema]
[Rabat conference]

The year 2014 has inevitably come to an end and, with it, the UN International Year of Crystallography is formally closed. It has been a hectic, exciting and stimulating year. IYCr2014 was started with a booklet entitled 'Crystallography matters!', produced with UNESCO and translated into 15 languages. After all the initiatives for IYCr2014, it is hoped, Crystallography now matters … more!

The IUCr, all the regional and national associations and many individual crystallographers have worked hard to reach the declared goal of raising awareness in the world at large about the importance of crystallography in the modern world. Through an incredible variety of activities worldwide, that objective has been brought to life for thousands of schoolchildren, university students and the general public. In the past year, many initiatives have been started by the IUCr, partnered by UNESCO, supported by industrial and academic sponsors, and made real by a host of willing volunteers. They have ranged from science fairs and crystal-growing competitions for schoolchildren, through professional-level OpenLab workshops and training sessions, to international summit meetings to shape future policy and bring nations together through science. They have ignited a fire in the new generation, most especially in parts of the developing world where structural science is still an infant science. We expect the audiences of students and young teachers who attended these events to now act as 'nucleating agents' in their countries and continue to grow and nurture the crystallographic community.

To build on these successes, the IUCr is embarking on an ambitious set of new initiatives to ensure that this newly kindled flame does not go out: more OpenLabs will be commissioned; more sustained efforts will be made in capacity building; more effort will go into public outreach activities. To pursue such objectives and enable the continuation of many initiatives successfully launched during IYCr2014, an 'IYCr legacy' fund has been established (see article The IUCr needs you!).

A conference entitled Crystallography for the next generation: the legacy of IYCr will open this new chapter for the crystallographic community (see right). It will be held at the prestigious venue of the Hassan II Academy of Science and Technology of Morocco in Rabat on 22–24 April, 2015. This is a very fitting venue as the Moroccan community was instrumental in gaining approval for IYCr2014. The 'IYCr legacy' conference will be held in lieu of a 'Closing' ceremony for IYCr to strengthen the message that IYCr has been a starting point for new initiatives that the IUCr will try to continue as sustainable long-term initiatives.

I look forward to meeting you all in Rabat.

Michele Zema (
IUCr Project Manager for IYCr2014