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Commission on Structural Chemistry

Chair: Alessia Bacchi (Italy)

Dipartimento di Chimica Generale ed Inorganica,

Chimica Analitica, Chimica Fisica

Parco Area delle Scienze, 17A

I-43100 Parma, Italy
Email: alessia.bacchi@unipr.it


The IUCr Commission on Structural Chemistry (IUCr CSC) is one of several International Union of Crystallography Commissions and is responsible for supporting activities relating to chemical crystallography. This page reports on those activities and provides historical and background information.

Created by J. Flippen-Anderson

Modified and Updated November 2005 by Alessia Bacchi

IUCr CSC Sponsored Meetings, Schools and Symposia  2005 – 2008

        Fourth Russian National Crystal Chemical Conference - Chernogolovka June 26 - 30, 2006               


The Conference will be held in the year of the fiftieth anniversary of the Scientific Center in Chernogolovka (SCC), RAS, and it will take place at the Institute of Problems of Chemical Physics in SCC. Scientists from Russia and other countries are invited to participate in the Conference.

Conference languages are Russian and English.
Conference Topics:

1.     Organic crystal chemistry

2.     Crystal chemistry of coordination and organometallic compounds

3.     Inorganic crystal chemistry

4.     Crystal chemical aspect in materials science. Relation between structure and properties

5.     Chemical bond in crystals

6.     Structural aspects of reactions in crystals

7.     Dynamic crystal chemistry

8.     Structural investigations by means of synchrotron and neutron irradiations and electron diffraction

9.     Modern features of powder diffraction

10. Modern problems of education in the field of crystal chemistry

11. New experimental methods in crystal chemistry


        "INDABA5" workshop "Models, Mysteries and Magic of Molecules" - Berg-en-Dal Kruger National Park South Africa 20-25 August 2006

The INDABA workshop is organized by the South African Crystallographic Society (SACrS) in conjunction with the Structural Chemistry Commission of the International Union of Crystallography (The SC Commission has been involved with the INDABA since its inception). Next year's theme is "Models, Mysteries and Magic of Molecules". Details of the theme, venue and organizing committee can be found on the website

Invited speakers and/or programme committee members for INDABA5:
Frank Allen
Mihael Atanasov
Jan Boeyens
Hans-Beat Buergi
Peter Comba
Gautam Desiraju
Martin Egli
John Helliwell
John Ogilvie
Eiji Osawa
Zorka Papadopolos
Vaclav Petricek

        School “Structural analysis by X-ray diffraction, crystallography under perturbation” - Université Poincaré Nancy I- 28 august – 02 september 2006


This school will gather together around 80 participants and 10 speakers from different countries and different scientific areas, physicists, chemists. The program will cover all basics of single crystal X-ray diffraction and structural analysis of small molecule systems. Several sessions will be more precisely devoted to crystallography under perturbation (light excitation, pressure), which is a rapidly developing field of crystallography. The courses will be separated into main sessions and tutorials of several crystallographic softwares (wingx, crystal, peanut, shelx). The preliminary program is the following:

I) Crystal structure determination

           1) Basis of crystallography (direct lattice, reciprocal lattice, symmetries)

           2) From diffusion to the diffraction of X-rays

           3) Direct methods, heavy atom methods

           4) Crystal structure refinement (least-squares)

           5) Thermal smearing models

II) X-ray diffraction under perturbation

           1) Diffraction under light excitation : photo-crystallography

           2) Diffraction under pressure

           3) Presentation of thesingle crystal diffraction beamline of the French synchtotron SOLEIL

III) Utilisation of crystallographic softwares

           1) General presentation

           2) Tutorials

Invited speakers: Several invited speakers have already accepted to participate to this school:

David Watkin : Chemical Crystallography Laboratory, Oxford, England (courses on least-squares methods)

Robert Blessing : Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute, Buffalo, USA (courses on direct methods)

Hans Beat Bürgi : Laboratorium für Chemische und Mineralogische Kristallographie, Bern, Switzerland (courses on thermal smearing effects)

Claude Lecomte : Laboratoire de Cristallographie et Modélisation des Matériaux Minéraux et Biologiques, Nancy, France (introductory lectures)

Jean-Claude Daran : Laboratoire de chimie de Coordination, Toulouse, France


Reports on IUCr CSC Sponsored Meetings, Schools and Symposia 2006


IUCr CSC other activities

(1) Prepare articles for the IUCr Newsletter identifying Commission officers, members and consultants and announcing and reporting on meetings, schools, workshops, projects and other activities. If appropriate identify significant developments in the area of the Commission and awards to or news about community leaders.

(2) World Directory Liaison –Gather names and addresses of scientists interested in the research area of the Commission and forward them to the IUCr Newsletter Office (e-mail addresses) and the General Editor of the World Directory (e-mail addresses).

(3) Liaison with Commission on Crystallographic Teaching (Chair: P. Spadon: paola.spadon@unipd.it) – Provide the following in the area of expertise of the Commission:

A list of names and dates of national and international schools

A list of books, web sites, teaching aids

(4) Liaison with Commission on Crystallographic Nomenclature (Chair: A. Authier: AAuthier@wanadoo.fr) and COMCIFS (Committee for the Maintenance of the CIF Standard; Chair: I.D. brown: idbrown@mcmaster.ca) – Propose a list of definitions of technical terms or jargon pertinent to the activities of your Commission. The old International Tables have lists of some basic definitions that should be updated.

(5) Liaison with Commission on Journals – Propose expanded areas of coverage of existing journals (print, electronic or virtual), new areas of coverage or perhaps a new journal or changes in formatting to serve better the needs of the Commission.

(6) Liaison with Commission on International Tables – Propose new volumes of International Tables (print, electronic or virtual), tailored to the needs of the Commission.

(7) Liaison with the Chair of the IUCr/Oxford Press Book Series Selection Committee (H. Schenk: schenk@science.uva.nl) – Identify the need for new books on the topic of the Commission and potential authors.

(8) Webmaster Maintaining the Commission web site

(10) 60th Anniversary Planner – 2008 will be the 60th anniversary of the IUCr and the 40th anniversary of JAC. Suggestions for suitable events to celebrate the occasion will be identified.


IUCr CSC History

Establishment of a Commission on "Small Molecules"

After the IUCr Congress in Ottawa in 1981 there were grumblings within the small molecule community that "disproportionately few oral sessions were devoted to small molecule structural analysis and those were relegated to the last days of the meeting when protein crystallographers had departed and most attendees were exhausted". To correct this perceived injustice a band of rogue small moleculers (Duax, Flippen-Anderson, Niedle and Stezowski) organized a grass roots movement to establish an IUCr Commission dedicated to "small" molecules. They contacted as many National Committees as possible in an effort to generate enough support to get their proposal on the agenda for the IUCr meeting in Hamburg in 1984. Response from the National Committees was favorable enough to get the proposal on the agenda. From the beginning there was much discussion on what the commission should be called and what topics it should encompass. All small molecules? Only bioglogical molecules? How "big" is "small"?

Lively discussion on naming the Commission and what it should include continued, even at the Congress itself (Acta Cryst. (1987) A43, 438-439), but the end result was that the establishment of the Commission on Small Molecules was officially at the 13th General Assembly in Hamburg.

The terms of reference for the Commission are:

(a) to advise the IUCr on organizing or sponsoring sessions on small-molecule structural analysis at Congresses and conferences;

(b) to promote and coordinate scientific exchange between countries in the field of small-molecule structural analysis;

(c) to cooperate with the Commissions of the Union on matters dealing with small-molecule structural analysis;

(d) to cooperate with other international bodies concerned in small-molecule structural analysis.

Later in the Assembly the size of the Commission was increased to have a Chairperson and 10 elected members. This was approved only for the 1984-1987 triennium and the Commission was subsequently reduced to a Chairperson and 8 members. Today the Commission is composed by a Chair, 9 members, and 10 consultants.

The first Chair of the Commission was John Stezowski. He was followed by Bill Duax,Frank Herbstein, Karl Kruger, Judy Flippen-Anderson, Lee Brammer and currently Alessia Bacchi.

The name of the Commission was officially changed to the Commission on Structural Chemistry at the 17th General Assembly in Seattle. The terms of reference have not changed.