Event Name RACI Tasmania Branch Public Lecture: What is X-ray Crystallography and how did it transform our view of the world?
Start Date 22nd Aug 2014 6:00pm
End Date 22nd Aug 2014 7:00pm
Duration 1 hour
Description To celebrate 2014 as the International Year of Crystallography, The Royal Australian Chemical Institute - Tasmania Branch, is hosting a public lecture entitled "What is X-ray Crystallography and how did it transform our view of the world?" on 22 August 2014, 6pm, Chemistry Building, Lecture Theatre 1, University of Tasmania - Sandy Bay Campus (map).

Just over a hundred years ago a narrow beam of X-rays was fired at a crystal for the very first time. The experiment, an early attempt to investigate the nature of this recently discovered radiation, showed that it was wavelike and so constituted a new type of light. Although that was in itself a profound discovery, scientists realised immediately that the far more interesting outcome of the experiment was the revelation that X-rays could be used to 'see' the atomic structure of matter in three dimensions at a level of detail beyond the reach of even the most powerful microscopes.
The technique of X-ray crystallography, first used to work out the atomic structure of simple crystals and minerals, has since been applied to the far more elaborate molecular structures found in chemistry and biology. It is arguably one of the greatest scientific advances of the 20th century. In this lecture I will recount the curious origin of the technique (including its Australian roots), explain how it works and discuss how crystallography opened up an entirely new landscape for scientists to explore.

Stephen Curry, a native of Northern Ireland, is a Professor of Structural Biology at Imperial College where he teaches life sciences students at undergraduate and postgraduate level. His main research interests currently are in structural analysis — mainly using X-ray crystallography— of the molecular basis of replication RNA viruses such as foot-and-mouth disease virus and noroviruses (which include the infamous ‘winter vomiting bug’).
Curry is also a regular science writer. Since 2008 he has been writing about his research and the scientific life past and present on his Reciprocal Space blog and at the Guardian. He has a particular interest in the history of X-ray crystallography and made several short films on the subject in collaboration with the Royal Institution.
In addition Curry is a founder member and vice-chair of Science is Vital, a UK group that campaigns on scientific issues, and is also on the board of directors of the Campaign for Science and Engineering.

Location Hobart
Contact Dr Nathan Kilah
URL http://www.raci.org.au/branches/tas-branch-2
Category lectures