Crystals – known to everybody as gems, snow crystals, or salt grains – are widespread in the nature around us. The investigation of their structure and properties means looking inside the intimate of atom geometries – a look contributing to the scientific development of chemistry, solid state physics, Earth sciences, and even, surprisingly, biology and medicine.

A century has passed since the crystals first revealed their secrets. In the meantime crystallography has become the pillar of the atomic and molecular sciences, showing us the structure of DNA, allowing the comprehension and the development of computer memories, visualizing the formation of proteins within cells, and yielding ever new materials and drugs.

This is why on July 2012, resolution 66/284 of the General Assembly of the United Nations declared 2014 – after 100 years from the awarding of the first Nobel Prize for the discovery of the diffraction of X-rays by crystals – the International Year of Crystallography.

The exhibition organized at the University of Padova wishes to celebrate the theoretical and applied aspects of crystallography on the occasion of the International Year.

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