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

[Leopoldo Suescun]

Año Internacional de la cristalografía en América Latina y el Caribe

The Spanish-language service of UNESCO presents a video describing the aims of the International Year of Crystallography and its relevance to scientific researchers in Latin America and the Caribbean region.

Category: Non-profits & Activism. Duration: 4m 16s
Licence: Standard YouTube Licence

The Royal Institution Crystallography Collection

[W. L. Bragg giving Royal Institution Lecture]

Sir Lawrence Bragg on crystals and gems

A series of six outside broadcasts filmed at the Royal Institution in the late 1950s and early 1960s, The Nature of Things was presented by William Lawrence Bragg with the assistance of Bill Coates. This is an extract from Crystals and Gems, the last show in the first series, exploring the properties and molecular structure of crystals.

Coates recalled Bragg once remarking to him: "never talk about science, show it to them", which is what The Nature of Things set out to do. Like the Christmas Lectures, the programmes were structured around a series of demonstrations and were filmed as a lecture in the Ri's theatre. Although the filming took place with an audience of adults, the series was aimed at children and broadcast on children's television. As he states at the end of the series, he hoped it would provoke "deep interest in the science of everyday things".

Broadcast on BBC Television in 1959. Duration: 17m 22s
© The Royal Institution. Credits: The Royal Institution /BBC

The Mystery of the Giant Crystals

[Inside the Naica cave]The film El Misterio de los Cristales Gigantes (The Mystery of the Giant Crystals) has been made freely available by Madrid Scientific Films and Triana Sci & Tech with the support of the International Union of Crystallography as an educational contribution to the International Year of Crystallography 2014. Written and presented by Juan Manuel García Ruiz and directed by Javier Trueba, the film tells the story of the scientific investigation into the nature and properties of the giant gypsum crystals found in a silver mine in Mexico in 2000.


Follow this link to read more about the project or to donate to the work of Triana Sci & Tech

Streaming HD video

Click on the images below to view the film in high definition in English, Spanish, Italian or French.

[Inside the Naica caves]

The Mystery of the Giant Crystals

The Cave of the Crystals (Cueva de los Cristales) in the Naica Mine, Chihuahua, Mexico, houses some of the largest natural crystals ever found. They are selenite, a form of the mineral gypsum (CaSO4.2H2O). Juan Manuel Garcíia Ruiz and his colleagues investigate the conditions under which these huge crystals have grown over the course of thousands of years. The temperatures in the subterranean caverns are over 50°C, and the caves are filled with water containing a variety of minerals leached from the surrounding rocks.

Duration: 50m 53s

© 2014 Trianatech.com - All rights reserved

[Inside the Naica caves]

El Misterio de los Cristales Gigantes

La Cueva de los Cristales en la mina de Naica, Chihuahua, México, alberga algunos de los más grandes cristales naturales que se han encontrado. Son selenito, una forma del yeso mineral (CaSO4.2H2O). Juan Manuel García Ruiz y sus colegas investigan las condiciones en que estos enormes cristales han crecido a lo largo de miles de años. Las temperaturas en las cavernas subterráneas son más de 50° C, y las cuevas están llenas de agua que contiene una variedad de minerales lixiviados de las rocas circundantes.

Duration: 50m 54s

© 2014 Trianatech.com - All rights reserved

[Inside the Naica caves]

Il Mistero dei Cristalli Giganti

La Grotta dei Cristalli (Cueva de los Cristales) nella miniera di Naica, Chihuahua, Messico, ospita alcuni dei più grandi cristalli naturali mai trovati. Si tratta di cristalli di selenite, una particolare forma di gesso (CaSO4.2H2O). Juan Manuel García Ruiz e i suoi colleghi indagano sulle condizioni in cui questi enormi cristalli sono cresciuti nel corso di migliaia di anni. La temperatura nelle caverne sotterranee è oltre 50° C, e le grotte sono riempite con acqua contenente una varietà di minerali lisciviati dalle rocce circostanti.

Duration: 50m 58s

© 2014 Trianatech.com - All rights reserved

[Inside the Naica caves]

Le Mystère des Cristaux Géants

La Grotte des Cristaux (Cueva de los Cristales) dans la mine de Naica, Chihuahua, Mexique, abrite quelques-uns des plus grands cristaux naturels jamais trouvés. Ils sont sélénite, une forme de gypse minéral (CaSO4.2H2O). Juan Manuel García Ruiz et ses collègues enquêtent sur les conditions dans lesquelles ces énormes cristaux ont grandi au cours de milliers d'années. Les températures dans les cavernes souterraines sont plus de 50° C, et les grottes sont remplis avec de l'eau contenant une variété de minéraux lessivés des roches environnantes.

Duration: 50m 58s

© 2014 Trianatech.com - All rights reserved

Educational videos

[EF-TU delivers aminoacyl-tRNA to the ribosome]

EF-Tu delivers aminoacyl-tRNA to the ribosome

The result of studies of molecules of biochemical importance using X-ray crystallography and electron microscopy is usually one or several 3D snapshots of the molecule of interest. However, one can learn much more about an enzyme’s mechanism of action by determining many structures along its functional pathway, in various conformational states or various ligands. These many snapshots can placed in order and when viewed quickly form a movie, like a children’s flip-book. This example, created by Martin Schmeing and Rebecca Voorhees of the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, illustrates the decoding step of protein synthesis by the ribosome.

Category: Science & Technology. Duration: 1m 39s
Licence: Standard YouTube Licence

Historical videos

[Patience Thomson]

Nobel winners honoured in Adelaide

The Bragg Centenary Symposium occurred at the University of Adelaide on Thursday 6 December 2012, to celebrate the centenary of the first crystal structure determination by X-ray diffraction. Present at the Symposium was Mrs Patience Thomson, daughter of W. L. Bragg. Click on the photograph to see the news item broadcast by the Australian Broadcasting Commission featuring Mrs Thomson and her relationship with her father.

Broadcast on ABC News on November 30, 2012. Duration: 5m 51s