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International Union of Crystallography
Commission on Crystallography in Art and Cultural Heritage

Approved by action of the IUCr Assembly, 28 August 2008

The Commission on Crystallography in Art and Cultural Heritage was formed at the Osaka Congress in 2008 and is concerned with two main issues:

  • Crystallography and symmetry in art;
  • Crystallographic analysis (e.g. diffraction-based) of artworks and ancient materials.

The terms of reference are:

  • To apply advanced crystallographic methods (theory, experiment) in the fields of art and cultural heritage;
  • To offer the crystallographic approach as a powerful analytical tool to all who are involved in materials research and microanalysis of artworks;
  • To strengthen links and interactions among crystallographers, mathematicians, materials scientists, artists, designers, architects, museum curators/conservators and archaeologists;
  • To favour scientific collaborations and thematic mobility/opening of (young) scientists with various backgrounds: crystal physics, crystal chemistry, forensic science, archaeological science, history of art and science, techniques of art;
  • To promote a common language in these fields;
  • To contribute to the recognition of crystallography as an interdisciplinary science (and not just as a technique or as a tool), particularly in those areas that are not necessarily perceived as being related to crystallographic concepts;
  • To encourage the development and dissemination of crystallographic concepts and techniques, in the studies of artefacts and archaeo-materials;
  • To use the disciplines of art and cultural heritage as an innovative support for educational purposes, focusing on the promotion and teaching of crystallography;
  • To promote the publication of relevant subjects in the journals of the IUCr;
  • To enhance the numerous analogies between art and crystallography;
  • To encourage the presence of scientists working in the fields of art and cultural heritage at IUCr meetings;
  • To support and organize art- and cultural-heritage-oriented symposia, which can be of interest to crystallographers during IUCr Congresses and meetings of Regional Associates;
  • To focus on cooperation and joint actions (including meetings, workshops and schools), in collaboration with other Commissions of the Union, particularly targeting post-graduate students and young scientists needing and willing to complete their education in crystallography;
  • To set up cooperation with the other Commissions of the Union, aiming at elaborating teaching materials for students with emphasis on the newest techniques used by crystallographers as a source of information for conservators and museum curators;
  • To ensure care and maintenance of the 'crystallographic cultural heritage', i.e. crystal models and historical documents; these are 2D or 3D representations and visual manifestations used as support for research/education in crystallography.

CrysAC News:


> The International Year of Crystallography 2014


> Photographs of the opening in Paris

Next Events:

CrysAC meetings

5th Meeting X-ray and other techniques in investigations of the objects of cultural heritage

Jagiellonian University
Krakow, Poland
14-17 May 2014
Deadline for submitting abstracts: 1 MARCH 2014

23rd IUCr Congress and General Assembly of the International Union of Crystallography
Monréal, Québec, Canada
August 5-12, 2014
Deadline for submitting abstracts:
18. February 2014

Free Downloads:

CalendarFree Calendars YCr2014


Useful link:

IUCr Online Dictionary of Crystallography

More news:

> CrysAC news

> IUCr List of Meetings

    Last update: February 17, 2014 | Website: Anke Zürn  


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