Preliminary Highlights of the Upcoming International Union of Crystallography (IUCr) Meeting in Montreal, August 5 – 12, 2014

From the FMS Global News Desk of Jeanne HambletonReleased: 28-Jul-2014
Source Newsroom: American Institute of Physics (AIP) Citations 23rd Congress and General Assembly of the International Union of Crystallography (IUCr)


Newswise — WASHINGTON D.C., July 28, 2014 – Some 2,500 scientists and experts from around the world will gather next month in Montreal for the largest international meeting of the year devoted to crystallography — a discipline that draws researchers from fields as far flung as genomics and geology who help solve problems as diverse as designing new manufacturing processes to creating life-saving drugs.

Journalists are invited to attend this meeting, the 23rd Congress and General Assembly of the International Union of Crystallography (IUCr), which will be held August 5-12, 2014 in Montreal, Canada.

Members of the press are also invited to participate in a live, online chat with crystallography experts in early August, during the week of the meeting. Details on the online event as well as news releases about scientific discoveries presented at the meeting will be available in the coming days.

This meeting comes at a special time because the United Nations has declared 2014 the International Year of Crystallography (IYCr2014) to recognize the importance of the field to technology, modern society and humanity and to commemorate the centenary of X-ray diffraction as well as a 400-year-old study of ice crystal by astronomer Johannes Kepler.

The meeting in Montreal is a cornerstone of the yearlong IYCr2014 celebration, and it will showcase U.N.-backed efforts to foster international collaboration between scientists worldwide, especially in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. It will also feature many renowned scientists, including Nobel-laureate Dan Shechtman, who will deliver a series of public lectures on crystals at McGill University.

Selected meeting highlights follow.

Listed below is a small selection of the 2,000 or so talks, posters and other presentations at the meeting. To obtain more information on any of these topics, you can search the meeting program for the presentation numbers shown below at or contact Jason Socrates Bardi at 240-535-4954 or

JUMPING CRYSTALS: They Move Upon Phase Change and Could be Useful in Devices
Presentation #MS67.O04, “Control of a thermosalient phase transition by solid solutions” by Elisa Nauha, Matteo Lusi and Pance Naumov, New York University Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

CRYSTALLOGRAPHY ON MARS: Exploring Martian Minerals
Plenary Lecture: The First X-ray Powder Diffraction Measurements on Mars

GIANT CRYSTALS: Taller than a Human
IYCr Film Presentation: The Mystery of the Giant Crystals.
Presented by Professor Juan Manuel Garcia-Ruiz, National Research Council of Spain and the University of Granada

COMBATTING DRUG RESISTANCE: Lessons from the viral proteases of HIV and HCV
Presentation #MS05.O01, “To reduce the likelihood of drug resistance, a detailed understanding of the drug target’s structure and function is necessary” by C. Schiffer, UMass Medical School, USA.

CRYSTALS IN CLEANING PRODUCTS: Stabilizing Peroxides with Supramolecular Approaches
Presentation #MS43.P09.A433 (C644), “Stabilising peroxyacids in niche microenvironments” by D. Cruickshank and C. Wilson, University of Bath, United Kingdom.

DRUG DELIVERY: Increasing Drug Delivery Options Through Crystal Engineering
Presentation #MS67.O03, “Trapping liquid drugs inside crystals” by Alessia Bacchi, Davide Capucci, Paolo Pelagatti, University of Parma, Italy.

GREEN CHEMISTRY: Cleaner, Solvent-free Reactions for Mineral Separation
Presentation #MS67.O01, “Solid-state assembly of metal-organic architectures by Tomislav Friscic, McGill University, Montreal, Canada.

EXOTIC MATERIALS: From the Earth’s Mantle, Deep Underground, to Commercial Electronics
Presentation #KN06, “The World of Perovskites: Phase Transitions and Exotic Properties” by Dhananjai Pandey, Indian Institute of Technology, Varanasi,India.

VACCINE DEVELOPMENT: Broad Neutralization Of Viral Pathogens
Presentation #MS16.O06, “Designing effective vaccines for HIV, HCV and influenza” by I. Wilson, The Scripps Research Institute, USA.

FLEXIBLE CRYSTALS: A Proposed Strategy to Attain Deformable Materials
Presentation #MS43.P13.A437 (C648), “Design of Mechanically Flexible Organic Crystals: A Crystal Engineering Approach” by G. Krishna, R. Devarapalli, G. Lal and C. Reddy, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) Kolkata, Mohanpur, India.

NANOENGINEERING: Building Tougher Materials with Extreme Pressure
Presentation #MS12.O02, “Creation of nanomaterials by extreme pressure-temperature conditions” by Vladimir Solozhenko, CNRS, LSPM, Villetaneuse, France.

PATHOGENIC BACTERIA: How do Bacteria Inject Toxins
Presentation #MS37.O02, “Injecting a host with a bacterial toxin requires complex machinery. Structures for these nano-machines are finally being uncovered using crystallography and complementary techniques” by S. Lea, University of Oxford, Great Britain.

CANCER RESEARCH: Controlling Cell Life and Death
Presentation #MS101.O04, “Why mutated cancer cells don’t die but instead proliferate is a question whose answer will be critical for finding cures for this disease. Crystallographic research on some of the proteins that control cell death sheds light on the answer.” by P. Czabotar, University of Melbourne, Australia.

DIAMOND NETWORKS – New Class of Porous Materials Created
Presentation #MS67.O02, “Hierarchical Construction of Versatile Diamondoid Porous Organic Salts (d-POS)” by Norimitsu Tohnai, Atsushi Yamamoto, Ichiro Hisaki and Mikiji Miyata, Osaka University, Japan.

Presentation #MS61.O01, “The early beginnings of Protein crystallography. Placing the contributions of scientists, such as Nobel Laureates Dorothy Hodgkin and Max Perutz, into perspective” by B Matthews, University of Oregon, USA.

NOBEL PRIZE WINNING SCIENCE: How the Early Experiences at Cambridge Led To The Structure Of The Ribosome
Presentation #MS61.O05, “A personal tale of scientific discovery that culminated in the 2009 Nobel Prize in Chemistry” by Nobel Laureate Prof Tom Steitz, Yale University, USA.

A number of lectures at the congress will address many of the global efforts taking place this year in recognition of IYCr2014.

CRYSTALS AROUND THE GLOBE: Laboratories in Africa, Asia and South America; summits in Pakistan, Brazil and South Africa; and a worldwide crystal-growing competition
Presentation #MS86.O01, “The International Year of Crystallography” by Claude Lecomte (Universite de Lorraine, Nancy, France) and Gautam Desiraju (Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India).

CRYSTALLOGRAPHY IN URUGUAY: Explosive Growth in Recent Years
Presentation #MS86.O02, “Crystallography and the IYCr2014 in Uruguay and Latin America” by Leopoldo Suescun, Universidad de la República, Montevideo, Uruguay.

THE AFRICAN PICTURE: Addressing the Gap Between World’s Wealthiest and Poorest Regions
Presentation #MS86.O03, “UNESCO activities in Africa for the 2014 International Year of Crystallography (IYCr)” by Jean-Paul Ngome Abiaga, UNESCO, Paris, France.

THE CRYSTALLOGRAPHIC COMMUNITY: Around the World in 2014 and Beyond
Presentation #MS86.O04, “Vision of a knowledge economy in IYCr2014” by Jonathan Agbenyega, International Union of Crystallography, Chester, U.K.

SNAPSHOTS FROM RUSSIA: Activities Celebrating the International Year in Novosibirsk
Presentation #MS86.O05, “IYCr in Novosibirsk” by Elena Boldyreva, Novosibirsk State University, Russia.

CRYSTALLOGRAPHY IN SOUTHEAST ASIA: Efforts in Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Fiji and Singapore
Presentation #MS86.O06, “IYCr outcome in SE Asia” by Jagadese Vittal, National University of Singapore.


Three public lectures are planned during the conference in honor of the International Year of Crystallography.

Crystals: A World to Discover
Delivered by: Professor Juan Manuel Garcia-Ruiz, National Research Council of Spain
When: 8:15-9:30 p.m. on August 6, 2014 in room Leacock 132 on the McGill University Campus

Quasi-Periodic Crystals – a Paradigm Shift in Crystallography
Delivered by: Nobel Laureate and Professor Dan Shechtman, Technion, Israel
When: 8:15-9:30 p.m. on August 7, 2014 in room Leacock 132 on the McGill University Campus

What is a Crystal? New Answers to an Old Question
Delivered by: Professor Ron Lifshitz, Technion, Israel
When: 8:15-9:30 p.m. on August 11, 2014 in room Leacock 132 on the McGill University Campus

MORE ABOUT THE INTERNATIONAL YEAR  The United Nations has declared 2014 the International Year of Crystallography. The designation aims to increase public awareness of the science of crystallography and how it underpins most technological developments in our modern society, as well as to foster international collaboration between scientists worldwide, especially in Africa, Asia, and Latin America

THE CRYSTALLOGRAPHIC COMMUNITY Crystallographers have always felt a strong sense of community. The creation of the International Union of Crystallography in 1947 was inspired by the desire to restore the bonds of scientific friendship amongst the nations of a world recovering from a major war. It resulted in the founding of a scientific journal owned and managed by the community, and in the establishment of a growing number of Commissions focusing on the needs and potential of different areas of the science.

The first edition of the World Directory of Crystallographers was produced in 1957, an unprecedented handbook of contact information and details of research interests tying together the community ever more closely.

The IUCr’s triennial international congresses have always been lively and cordial meetings, where many close friendships and collaborations have been forged.

My comments

I am hopeful I will receive feed back which I hope to share with you. With unexplained happenings in nature and scientific areas with the climate and weather, it is important we should have some idea what awaits us if possible. I am amazed how  many  different associations there aae above with crystallography. I look forward to hearing more. J.



From the FMS Global News Desk of Jeanne Hambleton  Released: 31-Jul-2014
Source Newsroom: Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI)  Citations The Astrophysical Journal Letters, July-2014


Newswise — Astronomers using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope have unexpectedly discovered the most distant galaxy that acts as a cosmic magnifying glass. Seen here as it looked 9.6 billion years ago, this monster elliptical galaxy breaks the previous record holder by 200 million years.

These “lensing” galaxies are so massive that their gravity bends, magnifies, and distorts light from objects behind them, a phenomenon called gravitational lensing. Finding one in such a small area of the sky is so rare that you would normally have to survey a region hundreds of times larger to find just one.

The object behind the cosmic lens is a tiny spiral galaxy undergoing a rapid burst of star formation. Its light has taken 10.7 billion years to arrive here and seeing this chance alignment at such a great distance from Earth is a rare find. Locating more of these distant lensing galaxies will offer insight into how young galaxies in the early universe build themselves up into the massive dark-matter-dominated galaxies of today. Dark matter cannot be seen, but it accounts for the bulk of the universe’s matter.

“When you look more than 9 billion years ago in the early universe, you do not expect to find this type of galaxy lensing at all,” explained lead researcher Kim-Vy Tran of Texas A&M University in College Station.

“It is very difficult to see an alignment between two galaxies in the early universe. Imagine holding a magnifying glass close to you and then moving it much farther away. When you look through a magnifying glass held at arm’s length, the chances that you will see an enlarged object are high. But if you move the magnifying glass across the room, your chances of seeing the magnifying glass nearly perfectly aligned with another object beyond it diminishes.”

Team members Kenneth Wong and Sherry Suyu of Academia Sinica Institute of Astronomy & Astrophysics (ASIAA) in Taipei, Taiwan, used the gravitational lensing from the chance alignment to measure the giant galaxy’s total mass, including the amount of dark matter, by gauging the intensity of its lensing effects on the background galaxy’s light. The giant foreground galaxy weighs 180 billion times more than our Sun and is a massive galaxy for its time. It is also one of the brightest members of a distant cluster of galaxies, called IRC 0218.

“There are hundreds of lens galaxies that we know about, but almost all of them are relatively nearby, in cosmic terms,” said Wong, first author on the team’s science paper.

“To find a lens as far away as this one is a very special discovery because we can learn about the dark-matter content of galaxies in the distant past. By comparing our analysis of this lens galaxy to the more nearby lenses, we can start to understand how that dark-matter content has evolved over time.”

The team suspects the lensing galaxy continued to grow over the past 9 billion years, gaining stars and dark matter by cannibalizing neighboring galaxies. Tran explained that recent studies suggest these massive galaxies gain more dark matter than stars as they continue to grow.

Astronomers had assumed dark matter and normal matter build up equally in a galaxy over time, but now know the ratio of dark matter to normal matter changes with time. The newly discovered distant lensing galaxy will eventually become much more massive than the Milky Way and will have more dark matter, too.

Tran and her team were studying star formation in two distant galaxy clusters, including IRC 0218, when they stumbled upon the gravitational lens. While analyzing spectrographic data from the W.M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii, Tran spotted a strong detection of hot hydrogen gas that appeared to arise from a giant elliptical galaxy. The detection was surprising because hot hydrogen gas is a clear signature of star birth.

Previous observations showed that the giant elliptical, residing in the galaxy cluster IRC 0218, was an old, sedate galaxy that had stopped making stars a long time ago. Another puzzling discovery was that the young stars were at a much farther distance than the elliptical galaxy. Tran was very surprised, worried, and thought her team made a major mistake with their observations.

The astronomer soon realized she had not made a mistake when she looked at the Hubble images taken in blue wavelengths, which revealed the glow of fledgling stars. The images, taken by Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys and the Wide Field Camera 3, revealed a blue, eyebrow-shaped object next to a smeared blue dot around the massive elliptical. Tran recognized the unusual features as the distorted, magnified images of a more distant galaxy behind the elliptical galaxy, the signature of a gravitational lens.

To confirm her gravitational-lens hypothesis, Tran’s team analyzed Hubble archival data from two observing programs, the 3D-HST Survey, a near-infrared spectroscopic survey taken with the Wide Field Camera 3, and the Cosmic Assembly Near-infrared Deep Extragalactic Legacy Survey, a large Hubble deep-sky program. The data turned up another fingerprint of hot gas connected to the more distant galaxy.

The distant galaxy is too small and far away for Hubble to determine its structure. So, team members analyzed the distribution of light in the object to infer its spiral shape. In addition, spiral galaxies are more plentiful during those early times.

The Hubble images also revealed at least one bright compact region near the center. The team suspects the bright region is due to a flurry of star formation and is most likely composed of hot hydrogen gas heated by massive young stars. As Tran continues her star-formation study in galaxy clusters, she will be hunting for more signatures of gravitational lensing.

The team’s results appeared in the July 10 issue of The Astrophysical Journal Letters.

For images and more information about Hubble, visit:  and

The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between NASA and the European Space Agency. NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, manages the telescope. The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore conducts Hubble science operations. STScI is operated for NASA by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., in Washington.





About jeanne hambleton

Journalist-wordsmith, former reporter, columnist, film critic, editor, Town Clerk and then fibromite and eventer with 5 conferences done and dusted. Interested in all health and well being issues, passionate about research to find a cure and cause for fibromyalgia. Member LinkedIn. Worked for 4 years with FMA UK as Regional Coordinator for SW and SE,and Chair for FMS SAS the Sussex and Surrey FM umbrella charity and Chair Folly Pogs Fibromyalgia Research UK - finding funding for our "cause for a cure" and President and co ordinator of National FM Conferences. Just finished last national annual Fibromyalgia Conference Weekend. This was another success with speakers from the States . Next year's conference in Chichester Park Hotel, West Sussex, will be April 24/27 2015 and bookings are coming in from those who raved about the event every year. I am very busy but happy to produce articles for publication. News Editor of FMS Global News on line but a bit behind due to conference. A workaholic beyond redemption! The future - who knows? Open to offers with payment. Versatile and looking for a regular paid column - you call the tune and I will play the pipes.
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