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77th Annual Pittsburgh Diffraction Conference

Leighton CoatesBryan Chakoumakos
[Oak Ridge seal]

The 77th Annual Pittsburgh Diffraction Conference was held between 24 and 26 October 2019 at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN, USA. The Pittsburgh Diffraction Society (PDS) is a not-for-profit organization that promotes fundamental and applied diffraction and crystallographic research and the exchange of ideas and information concerning such research. The PDS was founded by Surain S. Sidhu, who organized the first Pittsburgh Diffraction Conference in 1943. The conference was attended by 120 registered participants and featured 30 oral presentations and 36 poster presentations in sessions focused on all areas of diffraction, from powders to protein crystals. The conference was organized by a local committee of Kate Page, Bryan Chakoumakos, Xiaoping Wang and Matt Tucker, and was chaired by Leighton Coates.

The conference began with an opening reception on 24 October, followed by parallel scientific sessions on structural biology and “non-biological diffraction” on the 25th. The structural biology sessions started with a keynote address entitled “Electrons or photons, diffraction rules them all” by Fred Dyda (National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive Kidney Diseases, Bethesda, MD, USA) followed by talks from Robert Phillips (University of Georgia, Athens, GA, USA), Jahaun Azadmanesh (University of Nebraska, Omaha, NE, USA), Tim Mueser (University of Toledo, OH, USA), Chris Davies (Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC, USA), Patricia Langan (Lentigen Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, USA), Martin Egli (Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, USA), Raktim Roy (The Scripps Research Institute, Jupiter, FL, USA), Jeremy Lohman (Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, USA), Timothy Stachowski (Hauptman Woodward Institute, Buffalo, NY, USA), David J. Schuller (Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA) and concluded with a talk by B.C. Wang (University of Georgia, Athens, GA, USA).

The non-biological sessions included powder diffraction, magnetic diffraction, total scattering and small-molecule crystallography. The powder diffraction session chaired by Cora Lind-Kovacs (University of Toledo, OH, USA) included talks by Bob Von Dreele (Argonne National Laboratory, Lemont, IL, USA) “Systematic determination of magnetic structures driven by space groups in GSAS-II”, Weiwei Xie (Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA, USA) “Chemistry Perspectives to Novel Quantum Materials” and Corey Thompson (Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, USA) “Probing magnetic interactions in Re-based double perovskites”. The magnetic diffraction session chaired by Ovi Garlea (ORNL) included talks by Joseph Kolis (Clemson University, SC, USA) “Magnetic behavior and neutron diffraction of transition metal vanadate single crystals”, Margarida Henriques (CAS Institute of Physics, Prague, Czech Republic) “Modulations in magnetic materials” and Haidong Zhou (University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN, USA) “Structural and magnetic properties of R2TiO5 (R = Dy and Yb)”. The total scattering session chaired by Kate Page (University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN, USA) included talks by Emil Bozin (Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, NY, USA) “Local orbital degeneracy lifting as a precursor to an orbital-selective Peierls transition”, Ella Mara Schmidt (University of Oxford, UK) “A disordered superspace approach to understand highly structured diffuse scattering” and Robert Koch (Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, NY, USA) “Total scattering as a tool for quantifying local structure in iron-based superconductors”. The conference continued on 26 October, starting with a combined session on diffraction, which featured talks by Ken Herwig (ORNL), Leonard Mueller (University of California, Riverside, CA, USA) and Helen Playford (Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, Didcot, UK).

[PDC poster prize winners]Jahaun Azadmanesh and Bernadette Cladek (right) each won a Chung Soo Yoo poster award for graduate students presenting the best posters at the conference. The poster prizes were presented by Leighton Coates (left), President of the PDS.

Following this session, the Chung Soo Yoo poster awards, established by the PDS in his honor, were presented to the graduate students presenting the best posters at the conference. These were presented to Jahaun Azadmanesh (University of Nebraska, Omaha, NE, USA) and Bernadette Cladek (University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN, USA) during the business meeting of the PDS. The conference closed with a session on hybrid techniques featuring talks by Cora Lind-Kovacs (University of Toledo, OH, USA), Dustin Gilbert (University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN, USA) and Rebecca McAuliffe (ORNL). We would like to thank all our sponsors and exhibitors: Art Robbins Instruments, Formulatrix, Molecular Dimensions, Rigaku, Thermo Scientific and TTP Labtech without whose support the conference would not have been possible. The 78th Annual Pittsburgh Diffraction Conference will be hosted at the Stanford Accelerator Research Center (SLAC), CA, USA, between 27 and 29 September 2020. Please see the PDS website for upcoming details.

18 February 2020

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