International Year of Crystallography 2014

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Snowflakes are crystals. Their hexagonal symmetry results from the way in which water molecules are bound to each other.

The International Year of Crystallography 2014 (IYCr2014) commemorates not only the centennial of X-ray diffraction, which allowed the detailed study of crystalline material, but also the 400th anniversary of Kepler’s observation in 1611 of the symmetrical form of ice crystals, which began the wider study of the role of symmetry in matter.


The major objectives of the IYCr2014 are:

  • to increase public awareness of the science of crystallography and how it underpins most technological developments in our modern society
  • to inspire young people through public exhibitions, conferences and hands-on demonstrations in schools
  • to illustrate the universality of science
  • to intensify the programme Crystallography in Africa and create similar programmes in Asia and Latin America
  • to foster international collaboration between scientists worldwide, especially North–South contributions
  • to promote education and research in crystallography and its links to other sciences
  • to involve the large synchrotron and neutron radiation facilities worldwide in the celebrations of IYCr2014, including the SESAME project set up under UNESCO auspices
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