SIG-15 Crystallography in Art and Cultural Heritage


The Special Interest Group on Crystallography in Art and Cultural Heritage will be concerned with three main issues:

  • Crystallography and symmetry in art;
  • Crystallographic analysis (based on diffraction, x-ray absorption  spectroscopy, fluorescence, …) of artworks and ancient materials.
  • Application results of crystallographic studies in the area of mentioned above issues to teaching crystallography at the MSc and PhD levels.

Terms of Reference

  • To apply advanced crystallographic methods (theory, experiment) in the fields of art and cultural heritage;
  • To offer the crystallographic approach as a powerful analytical tool to all who are involved in materials research and microanalysis of artworks;
  • To strengthen links and interactions among crystallographers, mathematicians, materials scientists, artists, designers, architects, museum curators/conservators and archaeologists;
  • To favour scientific collaborations and thematic mobility/opening of (young) scientists with various backgrounds: crystal physics, crystal chemistry, forensic science, archaeological science, history of art and science, techniques of art, …;
  • To promote a common language in these fields;
  • To contribute to the recognition of crystallography as an interdisciplinary science (and not just as a technique or as a tool), particularly in those areas that are not necessarily perceived as being related to crystallographic concepts;
  • To encourage the development and dissemination of crystallographic concepts and techniques, in the studies of artefacts and archaeo-materials;
  • To use the disciplines of art and cultural heritage as an innovative support for educational purposes, focusing on the promotion and teaching of crystallography;
  • To promote the publication of relevant subjects in the journals of the IUCr; and possibly to create synergies with the IUCr commission on Ch (CrysAC);
  • To enhance the numerous analogies between art and crystallography;
  • To encourage the presence of scientists working in the fields of art and cultural heritage at ECA meetings;
  • To support and organize art- and cultural-heritage-oriented symposia, which can be of interest to crystallographers during ECA and meetings of Regional Associates;
  • To focus on cooperation and joint actions (including meetings, workshops and schools), in collaboration with other Commissions of the Union, particularly targeting post-graduate students and young scientists needing and willing to complete their education in crystallography;
  • To set up cooperation with the other SIG-GIG of ECA aiming at elaborating teaching materials for students with emphasis on the newest techniques used by crystallographers as a source of information for conservators and museum curators;
  • To set up cooperation of crystallographers within the European Research Infrastructure for Heritage Science (E-RIHS) and Integrated Platform for the European Research Infrastructure ON Heritage Science (or IPERION HS);
  • To enrich educational materials for crystallography teaching by adding information and exercises connected with crystallographic issues and techniques in the area of cultural heritage, making crystallography teaching more attractive and interesting for students.
  • To ensure care and maintenance of the “crystallographic cultural heritage”, i.e. crystal models and historical documents; these are 2D or 3D representations and visual manifestations used as support for research/education in crystallography.

SIG15 Founding Members