MAY 2014
Unique snowflake. Photo: Pen Waggener (Flickr: Unique) via Wikimedia Commons.
Unique snowflake. Photo: Pen Waggener (Flickr: Unique) via Wikimedia Commons.
International Year of Crystallography 2014
Crystals are everywhere in nature, admired for their symmetrical patterns - just think of a snowflake! The science of crystallography still remains relatively unknown for most people, though it underpins most technological developments in our modern society. 2014 marks the centennial of the birth of X-ray crystallography, thanks to the work of 1914 Physics Laureate Max von Laue who showed that X-rays are diffracted in crystals.
arrow Read more: X-ray's Identity Becomes Crystal Clear

A Successful Father-and-Son Team
After Max von Laue's discovery, it still wasn't clear whether the structure of the crystal and the wavelength of X-rays had any influence on the diffraction pattern.The connection was established by the Braggs, father and son, who were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1915.
arrow Read more: The Parent Trap
Lawrence Bragg
Lawrence Bragg.

The Discovery of Quasicrystals
In quasicrystals, we find the fascinating mosaics of the Arabic world reproduced at the level of atoms: regular patterns that never repeat themselves. However, the configuration found in quasicrystals was considered impossible, and Chemistry Laureate Dan Shechtman had to fight a fierce battle against established science.
arrow Watch a short video about Dan Shechtman

Play the Crystallite Game
Liquid crystals are partly ordered materials, somewhere between their solid and liquid phases. Their molecules are often shaped like rods or plates. The Crystallite Game is a Tetris-like game based on the different types of patterns found in liquid crystal molecules.
arrow Play the game
Crystallite Game

Monthly Quiz
The Youngest Nobel Laureate
Lawrence Bragg, who was awarded the 1915 Physics Prize together with his father, is the youngest Nobel Laureate ever. How old was he when he was awarded the Prize? Make a guess and click to submit your answer.