Early Days of X-Ray Crystallography

ISBN : 9780199659845

Andre Authier
464 Pages
175 x 242 mm
Pub date
Aug 2013
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2012 marked the centenary of one of the most significant discoveries of the early twentieth century, the discovery of X-ray diffraction (March 1912, by Laue, Friedrich, and Knipping) and of Bragg's law (November 1912). The discovery of X-ray diffraction confirmed the wave nature of X-rays and the space-lattice hypothesis. It had two major consequences: the analysis of the structure of atoms, and the determination of the atomic structure of materials. The momentous impact of the discovery in the fields of chemistry, physics, mineralogy, material science, biochemistry and biotechnology has been recognized by the General Assembly of the United Nations by establishing 2014 as the International Year of Crystallography. This book relates the discovery itself, the early days of X-ray crystallography, and the way the news of the discovery spread round the world. It explains how the first crystal structures were determined, and recounts which were the early applications of X-ray crystallography. It also tells how the concept of space lattice has developed since ancient times, and how our understanding of the nature of light has changed over time. The contributions of the main actors of the story, prior to the discovery, at the time of the discovery and immediately afterwards, are described through their writings and are put into the context of the time, accompanied by brief biographical details.


1. Significance of the discovery of X-ray diffraction
2. The various approaches to the concept of space lattice
3. The dual nature of light
4. Rontgen and the discovery of X-rays
5. The nature of X-rays: waves or corpuscles?
6. The discovery of X-ray diffraction and the birth of X-ray analysis
7. The first steps
8. The route to crystal structure determination
9. X-rays as a branch of optics
10. Early applications of X-ray crystallography
11. Unravelling the mystery of crystals - the forerunners
12. The birth and rise of the space-lattice concept

About the author: 

Authier Andre, Former student of Ecole Normale Superieure, Visiting Fellow, M.I.T. USA 1955-1956 D.Sc. Paris University 1961 Associate Professor, Paris University (1965-1968) Full Professor, Paris University (1968-1997) Member of the German Academy of Sciences (Deutsche Akademie der Naturforscher Leopoldina) Former president of the French Crystallographic and Mineralogical Societies Former President of the International Union of Crystallography (1990-1993) Officer of the Legion d'Honneur

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