Crystals have fascinated us for centuries with their beauty and symmetry, and have often been invested with magical powers. The use of X-ray diffraction, first pioneered in 1912 by father and son William and Lawrence Bragg, enabled us to probe the structure of molecules, and heralded the scientific study of crystals, leading to an understanding of their atomic arrangements at a fundamental level. The new discipline, called X-ray crystallography, has subsequently evolved into a formidable science that underpins many other scientific areas. Starting from the determination of the structures of very simple crystals, such as that of common salt, today it has become almost routine to determine the positions of tens of thousands of atoms in a crystal.
In this Very Short Introduction Mike Glazer shows how the discoveries in crystallography have been applied to the creation of new and important materials, to drugs and pharmaceuticals and to our understanding of genetics, cell biology, proteins, and viruses. Tracing the history of crystallography, he analyses astonishing developments in new sources of X-rays, as well as of neutrons, and in electron microscopy, and considers the impact they have on the study of crystals today.
ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
highly recommended as a starter reference on crystallography for general readers with a scientific bent. The book combines scientific rigour and moderate entertainment value in a brief and affordable format. * John D. Clayton, Contemporary Physics *
The merits of this book are that it is extremely concise and compact, yet precise and complete; it is written in a very pleasant and clear way; and it mixes history, anecdotes, theory and examples in a well-blended recipe. It is easy to read and the concepts flow naturally, and you arrive to the end with the impression of a birds eye view on all what you need to know about crystallography. * Crystallography Reviews *
This book is an excellent account of the science behind the study and understanding of crystals. * John Nicholson, Chemistry and Industry *
Explaining in 144 pages just what crystallography is, how it originated and developed, and in what fields it has been put to use, this new VSI volume superbly embodies the purpose of the Very Short Introductions series. * The Well-Read Naturalist *
for anyone layperson or technicianwho would like to know what crystallography is all about, this is the book to read. * Optics and Photonics *
The author of this book should write so many more books, what a good read! The illustrations were informative and clear and the writing was not only informative, but there was also a distinct sense of humor. I would highly recommend this to anyone working with or interested in crystallography or XRD. * Emily, Amazon Review *
A long history!
Sources of radiation