Richard Cooper

Mar 142014

2logos_frame_noletteringA-level students from a range of schools attended a one-day course at the Museum of the History of Science and the Department of Chemistry in Oxford to find out about the science and applications of crystallography. In the morning they discovered how symmetry plays important role in the structure and diffraction of crystals in a lecture by Prof. Brian Sutton of King’s College, London. Prof. Richard Cooper then gave an rapid overview of the history of the applications of crystallography from Pasteur’s discovery of chirality in the pre- X-ray diffraction world to Hodgkin’s determination of the structure of penicillin. Prof. Elspeth Garman took the students through the ups and downs of crystallographic research in the decades long attempt to grow one crystal of a virus protein in an attempt to fight the tuberculosis virus.

Split into groups, the students then visited the Department of Chemistry where they visited three different activities:

  • Rapid collection of diffraction data (under 10 minutes) and solution of the structure of fructose crystals with Dr. Amber Thompson in the X-ray facility.
  •  Tasting how different crystalline structures (polymorphs) of cocoa butter in chocolate affect its texture and physical properties with Ms. Rachel Knight from Dirk Aarts’ research group (honorable mention to the one student who resisted temptation – having given up chocolate for lent!).
  • Exploring stereoisomers and enantiomers using physical models (including Pasteur’s tartrate ion) and discovering why mirror images of a molecule can have quite different smells.

Meanwhile back in the museum students visited the solar fuels outreach stand where they saw how crystallography can reveal the structures that nature uses to carry out photosynthesis, and, under the careful supervision of Johnny Brooks-Bartlett and Katharina Jungnickel from Biochemistry, they were able to carry out a recrystallisation of the protein lysozyme and watch while it grew in just a few minutes on a microscope slide.

Jan 012014

2logos_frame_noletteringThe UN designated International Year of Crystallography 2014 (IYCr2014) commemorates not only the centennial of X-ray diffraction, which allowed the detailed study of crystalline material, but also the 50th anniversary of the Dorothy Hodgkin’s Nobel Prize and the 400th anniversary of Kepler’s observation in 1611 of the symmetrical form of ice crystals, which began the wider study of the role of symmetry in matter.

More information is available on the International Union of Crystallography’s IYCr site, and the British Crystallographic Association’s Outreach and Education site:

Nov 242013

seville-orangesThe annual Masters in Crystallography and Crystallization is organised by Universidad Internacional Menéndez Pelayo, La Factoría de Cristalización, and CSIC (the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Scientificas). The core module of the course is hosted during October and November in Seville. Richard Cooper from Chem Cryst gave lectures and a workshop for two days on crystallographic structure solution through charge-flipping (based on Pr. Chapuis’ course material) and the mathematics and practicalities of structure refinement.

Oct 112013

parkSung is working on a project to include refinement of anharmonic atomic displacement parameters in CRYSTALS. When he is not in the office, he can be found at Oxford Entrepreneur’s club, on the squash court, the real-tennis court, or injuring himself playing rugby for St Edmund Hall.

Oct 112013

arnoldJames is developing new anisotropic motion restraints for the CRYSTALS refinement software. When not in the lab or Exeter bar, he can be found collaborating with the cylons, usually to the detriment of the twelve colonies of humanity.

Oct 082013
King of the CastleRajiv is predicting and modelling the effect of small perturbations of molecular geometry on crystal packing. Often found in the Worcester bar, as captain of darts and as Food and Bar rep. May also be found attempting to kick the ball for Worcester MCR football.
Sep 092013

diamondThe fourth meeting of the Red Kite Network was held on Monday 9th September 2013, at Diamond Light Source.

The meeting included a tour of the synchrotron and a full programme of talks by local speakers, focussed on the use of synchrotron radiation as a structural probe.

1:15 pm Dr. Harriott Nowell (Diamond) Introduction and Welcome
1:20 pm Dr. Steve Thompson (Diamond) “I11 Upgrade Project”
1.50 pm Dr. Philip Chater (Diamond) “Structural Chemistry Through the Length Scales”
2.20 pm Tours, Tea, Coffee and Posters in R22
3.50 pm Dr. Anna Warren (Diamond) “X-ray Imaging as a Tool for Crystal Location”
4.10 pm Jon Treacy (Diamond/Manchester) “SXRD of Metal Oxides”
4.30 pm Rich Knighton (Oxford) “Towards Selective Anion Binding By Templated Interlocked Structures”
4.50 pm Karim Sutton (Oxford) “Big Methods for Small Molecules”
5.10 pm Drinks reception and Posters

The meeting closed with the award of prizes for best posters.

Aug 282013

Jenkin on BraggsThis year the European Crystsallographic Meeting was hosted in the UK for the first time since 1977. The meeting at the University of Warwick co-incided with the Bragg Centenary and included a fantastic collection of historical artefacts associated with the Braggs including scientific instruments, models, letters, portraits and notebooks organized by Mike Glazer and Pam Thomas.

Contributions originating from Chem. Cryst.  included:

Richard I. Cooper
Space groups and symmetry (ECACOMSIG Computing School lecture and workshop)

Pascal Parois
Alternative criteria for optimal data collection strategy (Talk in the Photocrystallography session)

Kirsten Christensen
Molecular Modulated Structures: Rare Today, Ubiquitous Tomorrow? (Talk in Aperiodic Crystals: Structure, Dynamics and Magnetism session)

pascal talk

Pascal Parois on alternative criteria for data collection strategy optimisation

bill david

Bill David at the Bragg Symposium on the past and future of crystallography


The ECA computing school lecturers and participants

Andrew Cairns explaining NLC

Andrew Cairns explaining NLC