Wednesday, March 19, 2014

International Year of Crystallography

UNESCO has declared 2014 the International Year of Crystallography. This is to mark 100 years since Max von Laue got the Nobel Prize for discovering diffraction of x-rays by crystals.
The International Union of Crystallography has produced some nice educational resources for the occasion.
But, I actually prefer this video from the Royal Institution for the Bragg centenary last year.

Due to the involvement of UNESCO there are initiatives to promote crystallography in the developing world. The map below highlights the problem, and shows how science is so under-resourced in Africa.

They are also highlighting how crystallography can aid the development of new materials relevant to pressing issues of clean water, food security, renewable energy, health, and green industry.
Although this is true I have mixed feelings about this. Scientific and technological breakthroughs could potentially help the Majority World in this way. However, the main obstacles to addressing many of these issues are not technical but rather a lack of political will [both on the part of the Western world and corrupt post-colonial national leaders]. There are plenty of feasible, viable, and affordable technical solutions to problems of clean water, disease, and food security.  We don't really need more research. I thank Vinoth Ramachandra for teaching me this.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the link to Vinoth Ramachandran's article.