A Little Dictionary of Crystallography

Editors: André Authier and Gervais Chapuis
Publication date: 16 July 2014
Pages: xiv + 238
Size: 13.97 x 21.59 cm
Produced by the IUCr Commission on Crystallographic Nomenclature

xtal_defThe lack of a compendium of crystallographic terms and the many questions related to matters of definitions and nomenclature led André Authier, Chair of the IUCr Commission on Crystallographic Nomenclature, to put forward the idea of an Online Dictionary of Crystallographic Terms at the 20th IUCr Congress in Florence (August 2005). The idea was received enthusiastically by the IUCr Executive Committee, and the website was soon established as a collaborative WiKi, using the same software that powers Wikipedia. Under the continuing guidance of its Editor-in-Chief, Gervais Chapuis, the system remains open to bona fide crystallographers wishing to correct or modify existing definitions, or to introduce new ones. The Nomenclature Commission carries collective responsibility for ensuring the quality of the definitions.

The project deals broadly with the subject of crystallography, the area of science over which the IUCr has authority. Terms from related disciplines (physics, mathematics, chemistry, mineralogy, biology etc.) are included so long as they have a specific relevance to crystallography. Names of chemical or biological substances or minerals are not generally included, and references to specific computer programs are generally avoided.  Names of people are included if they relate to crystallographic concepts, e.g. Bragg's law, Ewald sphere. While not aimed specifically at an expert audience, equations, tables and figures are included where necessary to illustrate and explain the definitions.

[A Little Dictionary of Crystallography: front cover]Translations of terms in other languages than English are given, but in keeping with the current role of English as the international language of science, the definitions themselves are not translated into other languages.

The result has been to produce an online reference that is a blend between 'dictionary' and 'encyclopaedia': a list of terms with short definitions and cross-links to other entries in the work, with at times longer developments. References are provided to other online resources of the IUCr (Teaching Pamphlets, CIF dictionaries, International Tables for Crystallography, Journals). These of course are active hyperlinks in the web version.

The primary goal of the dictionary is to be a reference for authors and referees of IUCr Journals and for research professionals in general: it will give the 'official' IUCr acceptance of terms. As such it will also be useful to students and to the general public.

This special publication is a printed snapshot of the contents of the Online Dictionary of Crystallography. It was produced by the IUCr Commission on Crystallographic Nomenclature as a contribution to the educational outreach activities of the International Year of Crystallography, proclaimed by the United Nations for the year 2014.

Its dissemination in a handy pocket-sized format will encourage wide circulation and may be useful in classrooms and public libraries, as well as in laboratories and on individual scientists' book shelves.

The most up-to-date version of the definitions in this book can be found online at the web address http://reference.iucr.org/dictionary


The book will be available for online purchase from 16 August 2014 at http://www.lulu.com/content/paperback-book/a-little-dictionary-of-crystallography/13926339

Contact Brian McMahon
URL http://reference.iucr.org/dictionary
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