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|Allegro, ma non tropo
|1901||"Overture", by Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen||Up|
None of this would have been possible without the contribution of Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen (1845-1923), who won the first Nobel Prize in Physics (1901), for his discovery of X-rays.
Although many other biographical personal references to Röntgen can be found on the internet, we recommend visiting the site prepared by Jose L. Fresquet (in Spanish). In the following paragraphs we summarize the most relevant details and add a few others.
Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen was born on March 27, 1845, at Lennep in the Lower Rhine Province of Germany, as the only child of a manufacturer and merchant of cloth. His mother was Charlotte Constanze Frowein of Amsterdam, a member of an old Lennep family which had settled in Amsterdam.
When he was 3 years old his family moved to Holland. From 16 to 20 years old he studied at the Technical School in Utrecht, and he then moved to Zurich where he got the corresponding academic degree in mechanical engineering.
|1914||"Prelude", by Max von Laue, with accompaniment by Paul P. Ewald||Up|
If Röntgen's discovery was important for the development of Crystallography, the second qualitative step forward was due to another German, Max von Laue (1879-1960), Nobel Prize for Physics in 1914, who in trying to demonstrate the ondulatory nature of X-rays, discovered the phenomenon of X-ray diffraction by crystals. A complete biographical description can also be found through this link.
Max von Laue was born on October 9, 1879 at Pfaffendorf, in a little town near Koblenz. He was the son of Julius von Laue, an official in the German military administration, who was raised to hereditary nobility in 1913 and who was often sent to various towns, so that von Laue spent his youth in Brandenburg, Altona, Posen, Berlin and Strassburg, going to school in the three last-named cities. At the Protestant school at Strassburg he came under the influence of Professor Goering, who introduced him to the exact sciences, where he studied Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry. However, he soon moved to the University of Göttingen and in 1902 to the University of Berlin, where he began working with Max Planck. A year later, after obtaining his doctorate degree, he returned to Gottingen, and in 1905 he went back to Berlin as assistant to Max Planck, who won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1918, ie four years after von Laue.
Between 1909 and 1919 he went through the Universities of Munich, Zurich, Frankfurt and Würzburg, and he finally returned to Berlin where he earned a position as a professor.
Max von Laue
was during this last period, namely in 1912, when he met Paul
Peter Ewald (1888-1985) in Munich. Ewald was then finishing
thesis under Arnold
and he got Laue interested in his experiments on the interference
radiations with large wavelengths (practically visible light) on a
"crystalline" model based on resonators. Note that at that time the
question on wave-particle duality was also under discussion.
The idea then came to Laue that the much shorter electromagnetic rays, which X-rays were supposed to be, would cause some kind of diffraction or interference phenomena in a medium and that a crystal could provide this medium. An excellent historical description of these facts and the corresponding experiments, conducted by Walter Friedrich and Paul Knipping under the direction of Max von Laue, can be found in an article by Michael Eckert.
It's amazing how quickly Ewald developed the interpretation of Max von Laue experiments, as it can be seen in his original article, published in 1913 (in German), available through this link.
Recognizing the role played by Ewald for the development of Crystallography, the International Union of Crystallography grants the Prize and Medal that carry the name of Paul Peter Ewald.
Paul P. Ewald
|And so was it that using a crystal of copper sulphate and some others from Blende, in front of an X-ray beam, how Laue got the confirmation on the ondulatory nature of the rays discovered by Röntgen (see images below). For this discovery, and its interpretation, Max von Laue received the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1914. But at the same time, his experiment created many questions on the nature of crystals...|
First X-ray diffraction pattern obtained by Laue and his collaborators using a crystal of copper sulphate
One of the first X-ray diffraction patterns obtained by Laue and his collaborators using some crystals of the mineral Blende
Laue was always opposed to National Socialism, and after the Second World War he was brought to England for a short time with several other German scientists contributing to the International Union of Crystallography. He returned to Germany in 1946 as director of the Max Planck Institute and professor at the University of Göttingen. He retired in 1958 as director of the Institute of Physical Chemistry Fritz Haber in Berlin, a position to which he had been elected in 1951.
On 8 April, 1960, while driving to his laboratory, Laue’s car was struck by a motorcyclist in Berlin, The cyclist, who had received his license only two days earlier, was killed and Laue’s car flipped. Max von Laue (80 years old) died from his injuries sixteen days later on April 24.
The year 2012 represents the centennial of the first single crystal X-ray experiments, performed at the Ludwig Maximilian Universität, Munich (Germany), by Paul Knipping and Walter Friedrich under the supervision of Max von Laue. The interested reader can enjoy reading the chapters publised as a reminder by the International Union of Crystallography, to be found through the links shown below.
|1915||"Allegro, ma non troppo", by Bragg (father & son)||Up|
This time it did not happen as with Röntgen. Max von Laue's discovery became immediately known, at least by the British William Henry Bragg (1862-1942) and his son William Lawrence Bragg (1890-1971), who in 1915 shared the Nobel Prize for Physics for demonstrating the usefulness of the phenomenon discovered by von Laue (X-ray diffraction) in studying the internal structure of crystals. They showed that X-rays diffraction can be described as specular reflection by a set of parallel planes through all lattice elements in such a way that a diffracted beam is obtained if:
2.d.sin θ = n.λwhere d is the distance between the planes, θ is the angle of incidence, n is an integer and λ is the wavelength. Through this simple approach the determination of crystal structures was made possible.
William Henry Bragg studied Mathematics at the Trinity College in Cambridge and subsequently Physics at the Cavendish Laboratory. At the end of 1885, he was appointed professor at the University of Adelaide (Australia), where his son (William Lawrence Bragg) was born. W. Henry Bragg became successively Cavendish Professor of Physics at Leeds (1909-1915), Quain Professor of Physics at the University College London (1915-1925), and Fullerian Professor of Chemistry in the Royal Institution.
His son, William Lawrence, studied Mathematics at the University of Adelaide. In 1909, the family returned to England and W. Lawrence Bragg entered as a fellow at Trinity College in Cambridge. In the autumn of 1912, during the same year that Max von Laue made public his experiment, the young W. Lawrence Bragg started examining the phenomenon that occurs when putting a crystal in front of the X-rays, presenting its first results (The diffraction of short electromagnetic waves by a crystal) at the headquarters of the Cambridge Philosophical Society during its meeting in November 11th, 1912.
|In 1914, W. Lawrence Bragg was appointed
of Natural Sciences at Trinity
and that same year he was awarded the Barnard Medal. The two
years (1912-1914) he worked with his father on the experiments of
refraction and diffraction by crystals led to a lecture of W.H. Bragg (Bakerian
Lecture: X-Rays and Crystal Structure) and to the famous article X-rays
and Crystal Structure,
also published in 1915. That same year, he (25 years old!) and his
shared the Nobel Prize in Physics. Father and son were able to explain
the phenomenon of X-ray diffraction in crystals
through crystallographic planes acting as special
mirrors for X-rays (Bragg's Law),
and showed that the crystals of substances such as sodium chloride
(NaCl or common salt) do not contain molecules of NaCl, but simply
ions of Na+ and Cl-, both
regularly ordered. These
ideas revolutionized Theoretical Chemistry and caused the birth of
a new science: X-ray Crystallography.
Unfortunately, after the First World War, some difficulties arose between William Lawrence and his father when the general public did not directly credit W. Lawrence with his contributions to their discoveries. Lawrence Bragg desperately wanted to make his own name in research, but he sensed the triumph of their discoveries passing to his father, as the senior man. W. Henry Bragg tried his best to remedy the situation, always pointing out which aspects of their work were his son's ideas; however, much of their work was in the form of joint papers, which made the situation more difficult. Sadly, they never discussed the problem, and the trouble lingered for many years. The close collaboration between father and son ended, but it was natural that their work would continue to overlap. They decided to divide up the available work, and agreed to focus on separate areas of X-ray crystallography. W. Lawrence was to focus on inorganic compounds, metals and silicates, whereas William H. Bragg was to focus on organic compounds.
In 1919, William Lawrence was made Langworthy Professor of Physics at Victoria University, Manchester, where he married and remained until 1937. There, in 1929, he published an excelent article on the use of the Fourier series to determine crystal structures, The Determination of Parameters in Crystal Structures by means of Fourier Series.
In 1941 father and son were knighted (Sir) and a year later (1942) William Henry died. In subsequent years, William Lawrence was interested in the structure of silicates, metals, and especially in the chemistry of proteins. He was appointed Director of the National Physical Laboratory in Teddington and professor of Experimental Physics at the Cavendish Laboratory (Cambridge). In 1954, he was appointed Director of the Royal Institution in London, establishing his own research group aimed at studying the structure of proteins using X-rays.
William Lawrence Bragg died in 1971, aged 81. The IUCr published an obituary that you can reach through this link.
|1934 - 1935||"Allegro molto", by Arthur Lindo Patterson, and David Harker as soloist||Up|
|Inexplicably, the name of Arthur
is slowly fading and entering history, almost as a stranger, at least
since the last
decade of the Twentieth Century. Probably his
name remains associated only with some crystallographic
calculation subroutine. However, as mentioned in another
chapter, the contribution of Patterson to Crystallography can
be seen as the single most important development after the discovery of
rays by Röntgen in 1895.
Lindo Patherson was born in the early years of the Twentieth Century in New Zealand, but his family soon emigrated to Canada, where he spent his youth. For some unknown reason, he went to school in England before returning to Montreal (Canada) to study Physics at McGuill University, where he obtained his master's degree with a thesis on the production of hard X-rays (with small wavelengths) using the interaction of Radio β radiation with solids. He performed his first experiments on X-ray diffraction during a period of two years at the laboratory of W.H. Bragg at the Royal Institution in London. At that time he was aware that, although in small crystal structures the location of atoms in the unit cell was a relatively simple problem, the situation was virtually unfeasible in the case of molecular compounds, or in general with more complex compounds.
|After a stay in the lab of W.H.
Lindo Patterson spent a very productive year in the Kaiser-Wilhelm Institute
in Berlin, with a
grant from the National
of Canada to work under Hermann
With his work, he contributed decisively to the determination of
particle size using X-ray diffraction, and started to become interested
in the theory of the Fourier transform, an idea that some years later
become his obsession in connection with the resolution of crystal
In 1927, he returned to Canada and a year later completed his PhD at McGuill University. After two years with R.W.G. Wyckoff in the Rockefeller Institute in New York, he accepted a position at the Johnson Foundation for Medical Physicsin Philadelphia which gave him the chance to learn X-ray diffraction applied to biological materials. In 1931 he published two articles on Fourier series as a tool to interpret X-ray diffraction data: Methods in Crystal Analysis: I. Fourier Series and the Interpretation of X-ray Data and Methods in Crystal Analysis: II. The Enhancement Principle and the Fourier Series of Certain Types of Function.
In 1933, he moved to the MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) where, through his friendship with the mathematician Norbert Wiener, he started learning Fourier theory, and especially the properties of the Fourier transform and convolution. That was how, in 1934, his equation (the Patterson Function) was formulated in an article entitled A Fourier Series Method for the Determination of the Components of Interatomic Distances in Crystals, opening enormous expectations for the resolution of crystal structures. However, due to the technological precariousness of those days in addressing the large amount of sums involved in his function, it took some years until his discovery became effective in indirectly resolving the phase problem.
Patterson's death, in November 1966, resulted from a massive cerebral hemorrhage.
|In addition to the technical difficulties
existing at that time in solving complex
mathematical equations, the function introduced by Arthur L. Patterson, clearly presented significant
difficulties in the case of complex structures. At least it was so
until, in 1935, David
Harker (1906-1991), a "trainee",
realized the existence of special circumstances that significantly
facilitated the interpretation of the Patterson Funtion, and
L. Patterson had not been aware.
David Harker was born in California, and graduated in 1928 as a chemist at Berkeley. In 1930, he accepted a job as a technician in the laboratory of the Atmospheric Nitrogen Corp. in New York, where, through the reading of articles related to crystal structures, his interest in crystallography increased. Due to the great economic depression in 1933, he lost the job and returned to California. Using some savings, he was able to enter the California Institute of Technology. There, supervised by Linus Pauling, he began to experiment with the resolution of some simple crystal structures.
|During one of the weekly talks
in Pauling's lab, the function
recently introduced by Arthur L. Patterson
was described and Harker was immediatly aware of the difficulties
implied in the many calculations in attaining the Patterson map, but
especially the difficulty in interpreting it in structures
many atoms. However, a few nights after the speech, he woke up suddenly
and said it has to work!.
Indeed, it became clear to Harker that the Patterson map
regions where the interatomic vectors (between atoms related by
symmetry elements) are concentrated. Therefore, in order to
vectors, one has only to explore certain areas of the
map, and not the
entire Patterson unit cell, which simplifies the interpretation qualitatively.
From 1936 until 1941, he had a professor position to teach Physical Chemistry at Johns Hopkins University, where he learned classical Crystallography and Mineralogy. During the remaining years of the 1940's, he obtained a research position at the General Electric Company and from there, together with his colleague, John S. Kasper, made another important contribution to Crystallography: the Harker-Kasper inequalities, the first contribution to the so-called direct methods for solving the phase problem.
During the 1950's, Harker accepted the offer of joining the Irwin Langmuir Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute to solve the structure of ribonuclease. This opportunity helped him to establish the methodology that, years later (1962), was used by Max Perutz and John Kendrew to solve the structure of hemoglobin. In 1959, Harker moved his team and project to the Roswell Park Cancer Institute and completed the ribonulease structure in 1967. He retired officially in 1976, but remained somewhat active at the Medical Foundation of Buffalo (today the Hauptman-Woodward Institute), until his death in 1991 from pneumonia. There is a nice Harker's obituary written by William Duax.
|1940 - 1960||"Andante", score by John D. Bernal||Up|
the findings and developments by Arthur Lindo Patterson and David
Harker, interest was directed to the structure of molecules,
especially those related to life: proteins. And in this
movement an Irishman, settled in England, John
Desmond Bernal (1901-1971), played a crucial role to the further
development of crystallography.
John Desmond Bernal was born in Nenagh, Co. Tipperar, in 1901. The Bernals were originally Sephardic Jews who came to Ireland in 1840 from Spain via Amsterdam and London. They converted to Catholicism and John was Jesuit-educated. John enthusiastically supported the Easter Rising, and, as a boy, organised a Society for Perpetual Adoration. He moved away from religion as an adult, becoming an atheist. Bernal was strongly influenced by the Russian Revolution of 1917 and became a very active member of the Communist Party of Britain.
John graduated in 1919 in Mineralogy and Mathematics (applied to symmetry) at the University of Cambridge. In 1923, he obtained a position as assistant in the laboratory of W.H. Bragg at the Royal Institution in London, and in 1927, he returned as a professor to Cambridge. His fellow students in Cambridge nicknamed him ‘Sage’ because of his great knowledge. From there, he attracted many young researchers from Birbeck College and King's College to the field of macromolecular crystallography. In 1937, he obtained a professor position in London at Birkbeck College, from where he trained many crystallographers (Rosalind Franklin, Dorothy Hodgkin, Aaron Klug and Max Perutz, among others).
John D. Bernal has earned a prominent position in the Science of the
Twentieth Century. He showed that, under appropriate conditions, a
crystal can maintain its crystallinity under exposure to X-rays. Some
of his students were able to solve complex structures such as
hemoglobin and other biological materials of importance, such that
crystallographic analysis started to revolutionize Biology. John, who
died at the age of 70, was also the engine of crystallographic
studies on viruses, together with his collaborator, Isadore
|The developments of the Bragg's, based on
the previous discovery of Laue and
the work by Patterson and Harker, raised the expectations of
structural biology. Due to the Second World War, England became an
attractive center, especially around John
Max Ferdinand Perutz (1914-2002) was born in Vienna, on May 19th, 1914, into a family of textile manufacturers. They had made their fortune in the 19th Century by the introduction of mechanical spinning and weaving to the Austrian monarchy. Max was sent to school at the Theresianum, a grammar school derived from an officers' academy at the time of the empress Maria Theresia. His parents suggested that he should study law in preparation for entering the family business. However, a good schoolmaster awakened his interest in chemistry and he entered the University of Vienna where he, in his own words, "wasted five semesters in an exacting course of inorganic analysis". His curiosity was aroused, however, by organic chemistry, and especially by a course of organic biochemistry, given by F. von Wessely, in which Sir F.G. Hopkins' work at Cambridge was mentioned. It was here that Perutz decided that Cambridge was the place he wanted to work on his Ph.D. thesis.
Max F. Perutz
John C. Kendrew
|With financial help from his father, in September 1936, Perutz became a research student at the Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge under John D. Bernal. His relationship with Lawrence Bragg was also critical, and in 1937 he conducted the first diffraction experiments with hemoglobin crystals which had been crystallized in Keilin's Molteno Institute. Thus, from 1938 until the early fifties, the protein chemistry was done at Keilin's Molteno Institute and the X-ray work at the Cavendish, with Perutz busily bridging the gap between biology and physics on his bicycle.|
the invasion of Austria by Hitler, the family business was
expropriated, his parents became refugees, and his own funds were soon
exhausted. Max was saved by being appointed research assistant
Bragg, under a grant
from the Rockefeller
Foundation, on January 1st, 1939. The grant continued,
with various interruptions due to the war, until 1945, when Perutz was
given an Imperial
Chemical Industries Research Fellowship. In October 1947,
he was made head of the newly constituted Medical Research Council Unit
for Molecular Biology. His collaboration with Sir Lawrence
Bragg continued through many years. As a memorial to
Perutz you probably may consult this obituary
published in Nature
on the occasion of his death in 2002 (otherwise you always
may download this
obituary written in Spanish).
John Cowdery Kendrew (1917-1997) was born on 24th March, 1917, in Oxford. He graduated in Chemistry in 1939 from Trinity College. He spent the first few months of the war doing research on reaction kinetics in the Department of Physical Chemistry at Cambridge under the supervision of E.A. Moelwyn-Hughes. The personal influence of John D. Bernal led him to work on the structure of proteins and in 1946 he joined the Cavendish Laboratory, working with Max Perutz under the direction of Lawrence Bragg, where he received his Ph.D. in 1949. Kendrew and Perutz formed the entire staff of the Molecular Biology Unit of the recently established (1947) Medical Research Council.
Although the work of Kendrew focused on myoglobin, Max Ferdinand Perutz and John Cowdery Kendrew received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1962 for their work on the structure of hemoglobin and both were the first to successfully implement the MIR methodology introduced by David Harker.
|One of the great scientists of those
years who also emerged under the direct influence of John
was the controversial and unfortunate Rosalind
Elsie Franklin (1920-1958).
There are many texts concerning Rosalind, but perhaps it is worthwhile
to read the detailed pages (in Spanish) prepared by Miguel
dama ausente: Rosalind Franklin y la doble hélice and Jaque
a la dama: Rosalind Franklin en King's College, both of which do justice to her personality and to her
short but fruitful work in the science of the mid-twentieth century.
In the summer of 1938, Franklin went to Newnham College, Cambridge. She passed her finals in 1941, but was only awarded a titular degree, as women were not entitled to degrees from Cambridge at the time. In 1945, Franklin received her PhD from Cambridge University. After the war Franklin accepted an offer to work in Paris at the Laboratoire de Services Chimiques de L'Etat with Jacques Mering, where she learned X-ray diffraction techniques on coal and related inorganic materials. In January 1951, Franklin started working as a research associate at King's College, London, in the Medical Research Council, in the Biophysics Unit, directed by John Randall. Although originally she was to have worked on X-ray diffraction of proteins and lipids in solution, Randall redirected her work to DNA fibers before she started working at King's, as Franklin was to be the only experienced experimental diffraction researcher at King’s in 1951.
Rosalind E. Franklin
|From Randall's laboratory,
Rosalind's trajectory crossed with that of Maurice
as both were dedicated to DNA
research. Unfortunately, unfair
competition led to a conflict with Wilkins which finally
"took its toll". In Rosalind's absence, Wilkins showed the
diffraction diagrams, which Rosalind had taken
two young scientists lacking excessive scruples... James
Watson and Francis
John Bernal called her DNA X-ray photographs "the most beautiful X-ray photographs of any substance ever taken." Rosalind's DNA diagrams provided the establishment of the double helical structure of DNA. It might be interesting for the reader to see this short video prepared by "My Favourite Scientist" (also available through this link). Using a laser pen and some bent wire Andrew Marmery from the Royal Institution in London demonstrates the principles of diffraction and reproduces the characteristic diffraction pattern of the helical structure of DNA (use this other link in case of problems).
Rosalind Franklin died very young, at age 37, from ovarian cancer.
Wilkins (1916-2004) was
born in New Zealand. He graduated as a physicist in 1938 from St. John's College,
Cambridge, and joined John
Randall at the University of Birmingham.
After obtaining his PhD in 1940, he joined the Manhattan Project in
California. After World War II, in 1945, he returned to Europe
Randall was organizing the study of biophysics
at the University of
St. Andrew in Scotland. A year later, he obtained a
position at King's
College, London, in the newly created Medical Research Council,
where he became deputy director in 1950.
James Watson (1928-), born in Chicago, obtained a PhD in Zoology in 1950 at the University of Indiana. He spent a year in Copenhagen as a Merck Fellow and during a symposium held in 1951 in Naples, met Maurice Wilkins, who awoke his interest in the structure of proteins and nucleic acids. Thanks to the intervention of his director (Salvador E. Luria), Watson in the same year got a position to work with John Kendrew at the Cavendish Laboratory, where he also met Francis Crick. After two years at the California Institute of Technology, Watson returned to England in 1955 to work one more year in the Cavendish Laboratory with Crick. In 1956 he joined the Department of Biology at Harvard.
Crick (1916-2004) was born in England and studied Physics
at London University
During the war, he worked for the British
Admiralty and later went to the laboratory of W.
study biology and the principles of crystallography. In 1949,
through a grant from the Medical
he joined the laboratory of Max
where, in 1954, he completed his
doctoral thesis. There he met James
Watson, who later would
determine his career. He spent his last years at the Salk
Institute for Biological Studies in California.
In connection with the unfortunate story of Rosalind Franklin, Maurice Wilkins, James Watson and Francis Crick received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1962 for the discovery of the right handed double helix structure of DNA. The decisive role of Rosalind Franklin was forgotten. Although made in casual tone, it seems very appropriate the "rap" prepared by several high school students in the USA, about the history of the DNA discovery and Rosalind Franklin.
C. Hodgkin (1910-1994), was born in Cairo, but she also spent
part of her youth in Sudan and Israel, where her father became director
of the British School
of Archeology in Jerusalem. From 1928 to 1932 she settled
in Oxford thanks to a grant from Sommerville
College, where she learned the methods of crystallography
and diffraction, and soon was attracted by the character and work
D. Bernal. In 1933, she moved to Cambridge where
she spent two happy
years, making many friends and exploring a variety of
problems with Bernal.
In 1934, she returned to Oxford, from where she never left, except for short periods. In 1946, she obtained a position as Associate Professor for Crystallography and although she was initially linked to Mineralogy, her work soon pointed towards the area which had always interested her and which she had learned under John D. Bernal: sterols and other interesting biological molecules.
Dorothy Hodgkin took part in the meetings in 1946 which led to the foundation of the International Union of Crystallography and she visited many countries for scientific purposes, including China, the USA and the USSR. She was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1947, a foreign member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences in 1956, and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (Boston) in 1958.
In 1964 she was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.
Dorothy C. Hodgkin
|1970 - 1980...||"Finale", with an unfinished melody...||Up|
|Although what happened in the first 60
years of the Twentieth Century is astonishing and somewhat unique, the "crystallographic melody"
continued, and in this sense it is still worthwhile to mention
other scientists who made Crystallography go further.
William Nunn Lipscomb (1919-2011) was born in Cleveland, Ohio, USA, but moved to Kentucky in 1920, and lived in Lexington throughout his university years. After his bachelors degree at the University of Kentucky, he entered graduate school at the California Institute of Technology in 1941, first in physics. Under the influence of Linus Pauling, he returned to chemistry in early 1942. From then until the end of 1945 he was involved in research and development related to the war. After completing his Ph.D., he joined the University of Minnesota in 1946, and moved to Harvard University in 1959. Harvard recognitions include the Abbott and James Lawrence Professorship in 1971, and the George Ledlie Prize, also in 1971.
In 1976 Lipscomp was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his contributions to the structural chemistry of boranes.
William N. Lipscomb
This chapter cannot be concluded without mentioning the efforts made by other crystallographers, who during many years tried to solve the phase problem with approaches different from those provided by the Patterson method, ie, trying to solve the problem directly from the intensities of the diffraction pattern and based on probability equations: direct methods.
Herbert A. Hauptman (1917-2011), born in New York, graduated in 1939 as a mathematician from Columbia University. His collaboration with Jerome Karle began in 1947 at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington DC. He earned his PhD in 1954 from the University of Maryland. In 1970, he joined the crystallographers group at the Medical Foundation in Buffalo, where he became research director in 1972. Hauptman was the second non-chemist to win a Chemistry Nobel Prize, not the first one as it is said elsewhere (the first one was the physicist Ernest Rutherford).
Karle (1918-2013), also from New York, studied
mathematics, physics, chemistry and biology, obtaining his master's
degree in Biology from Harvard
University in 1938. In 1940, he moved to the University of Michigan,
where he met and married Isabella Lugosky. He worked on the Manhattan Project
at the University of
Chicago and earned a doctoral degree in 1944. Finally, in
1946, he moved to the Naval
Research Laboratory in Washington DC, where he
The monograph published in 1953 by Hauptman and Karle, Solution of the Phase Problem I. The Centrosymmetric Crystal, already contained the most important ideas on probabilistic methods which, applied to the phase problem, made them worthy of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1985. However, it would be unfair not to mention the role of Jerome's wife, Isabella Karle (1921-), who played an important role, putting the theory into practice.
Crystallography is (and has been) one of the most inter- and multidisciplinary sciences. It links together frontier areas of research and has, directly or indirectly, produced the largest number of Nobel Laureates throughout history.
Additionally, the International Union of Crystallography (IUCr) established, since 1986, the existence of the Ewald Prize awarded every three years for outstanding contributions to the science of Crystallography.
This chapter is dedicated to the many scientists who have made Crystallography one of the most powerful and competitive branches of Science for looking into the "tiny" world of atoms and molecules. It could definitely have been more extensive and detailed, because we cannot forget the participation and effort of many other scientists, past and present, but the important issue is that, after our "finale", "crystallographic music" plays on ...
|The United Nations in its General Assembly A/66/L.51 (issued on 15 June 2012), after considering the relevant role of Crystallography in Science decided to proclaim 2014 International Year of Crystallography. Click also on the left image!|