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Acta Cryst. (1994). A50, 259-260

Introduction to crystallography. (Revised edition.)

By C. Hammond

Pp. x + 132. Oxford: Oxford University Press for the Royal Microscopical Society, 1992
Price £10.95 (paper). ISBN 0-19-856433

This short text is designed as a `user-friendly' handbook of elementary crystallography. As its sponsorship indicates, it is intended to introduce practising microscopists to those crystallographic concepts that are essential in understanding the electrical or mechanical properties of materials and the geometry of diffraction underlying the mechanisms of image formation. The work would be equally useful for undergraduate or graduate students in materials science and related fields. It is an expanded and revised edition of the author's 1989 work of the same title.

The first five chapters provide the reader with a good survey of the basic concepts of crystal geometry. Two- and three-dimensional patterns, lattices and symmetry are presented with precision and clarity. To illustrate the concepts presented, the crystal structures of several simple compounds are discussed in detail. Good-quality illustrations, including some of Escher's symmetry-based fantasies, help in understanding the problems discussed. In Chapter 6, the author deals skilfully with the reciprocal lattice, which later, in Chapter 7 - new to this edition - serves as a powerful tool to explain diffraction effects. Each chapter is followed by very useful exercises, for some of which answers are given. A not particularly up-to-date reading list of other works covering these classical topics is also provided. Two appendices list suppliers of model-building kits and computer programs for teaching crystallography. Appendix 3 provides interesting biographical notes on famous (and on some less well known) crystallographers whose names and concepts appear in the text. Appendix 4 provides a summary of geometrical relationships but omits the general forms for the triclinic system as being `rather lengthy.' This edition features an additional appendix that deals with vector nomenclature and analysis for readers with limited mathematical backgrounds.

All in all, this little book satisfies all the requirements for a popular introductory text. It is concise and simple, but not simplistic, well presented and full of excellent didactic hints. Its attractiveness is surely enhanced by the low price of this paperback edition.

Michal Sabat

Department of Chemistry
University of Virginia
Charlottesville
VA 22901
USA


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