Learn about crystallography through watching


Below are listed some interesting video clips, webcasts, television programmes and films that explain crystallography. Click on the large images to download a video file, watch the clip, or be directed to an external website. Click on the smaller images for more information.

A selection of videos from the International Year of Crystallography playlist on YouTube

[Schools competition Final]

Final of the 2014 Crystallization Competition for Schools in Spain

The Crystallization Competition in Schools in Spain aims to introduce the importance of crystallography and its applications to secondary school students. It takes advantage of the natural attraction of the crystallization phenomenon. The competition begins with crystallization and crystallography courses for school teachers, and then allows students to learn how to work as scientists in the lab, to enjoy scientific teamwork and present their results as researchers would do in a scientific conference. It is organized by the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) and the Specialized Spanish Group of Crystallography and Crystal Growth (GE3C), and funded by the Spanish Foundation of Science and Technology (FECYT), among other sponsors.

This national edition of the competition, the sixth, is one of the activities of the International Year of Crystallography and has generated enormous interest within the educational community. More than 7,000 students, 286 teachers and 189 schools took part. During April, the best 40 crystallization projects from all over Spain were selected from eight semi-finals that took place in Andalusia, Aragon, Catalonia, Asturias-Galicia-Cantabria, Valencia, Canarias, Madrid and Alcalá de Henares.

The award ceremony was held on 10 May 2014 at CSIC's headquarters. It was attended by the President of CSIC, Prof. Emilio Lora-Tamayo and the President of the International Union of Crystallography, Prof. Gautam Desiraju.

Category: Science & Technology. Duration: 4m 11s
Licence: Standard YouTube Licence

Educational videos

[Electron density map, protein model and crystal]

Diving into the heart of the molecules of life

Taking atomic snapshots is very important to biologists who want to understand the architecture of the macromolecules that make up our cells. However, these nano-objects are far too small to be observed with a microscope. This is why other methods such as X-ray crystallography are needed to provide accurate images at an atomic scale. This film, Diving into the heart of the molecules of life, follows the different steps of a crystallographic study and describes the work of researchers at CNRS (ARN Laboratory, Institut de Biologie Moléculaire et Cellulaire, Strasbourg), from the purification of a macromolecule from living cells, its crystallisation and the analysis of the crystals using synchrotron radiation, to the assembly of a three-dimensional image. This movie covers several aspects of scientists' work which are not widely known: the cloning of biomolecules, the use of large instruments such as synchrotron X-ray sources, and 3D visualisation.

Category: Education. Duration: 13m 26s

cc_by-nc-sa License: Creative Commons

Historical videos

[celebrating crystallography displays a laser diffraction pattern]

The humble Braggs and X-ray crystallography

Solving the patterns of matter

As the field of crystallography celebrates its centenary year we look back at how it all began – with a father and son team and a humble salt crystal.

With the help of archive footage and historic objects from the Ri, Patience Thomson, daughter of William Lawrence Bragg, presents an intimate portrait of her father. From his detailed artworks to his love of detective stories and puzzles, Patience reveals how Lawrence’s unique character and analytical mindset led to numerous scientific breakthroughs.

Plus, find out how he reacted to receiving news of his Nobel Prize while serving on the front during WW1 at the age of 25 and discover how the Braggs applied their scientific knowledge to aid the war effort.

Professor Stephen Curry is also on hand to demonstrate just how important the Braggs' discovery was and how the field of X-ray crystallography has revealed the structure of hundreds of different molecules, from enzymes and proteins to entire viruses. The Braggs' discoveries of 1913 remain at the foundation of modern day techniques and, to date, 29 Nobel Prizes have been awarded to work related to X-ray crystallography.

Our thanks to Stephen Curry, Patience Thompson, and filmmaker Thom Hoffman.

This film was supported by the Science and Technologies Facilities Council (STFC).

Published: 2013
Filmed: 2013. Duration: 8m 56s
Credits: Thom Hoffman

cc_by-nc-sa License: Creative Commons