Nature: A century of Crystallography

structure of penicillin

Electron density map of the chemical structure of Penicillin obtained by Dorothy Hogdkin by X-ray diffraction methods. This striking and unambiguous result established the chemical structure of the 'wonder drug' in 1945. Electron density maps of the chemical structure of Penicillin obtained by Dorothy Hodgkin and colleagues by X-ray diffraction methods. This striking and unambiguous result established the chemical structure of the ‘wonder drug’ in 1945. Prof. Hodgkin is one of the towering figures of women in crystallography, highlighted in the article by G. Ferry in this special issue of Nature. Images from the author collection from the Science Museum at Oxford, UK. 

I have another blog posting ready, dealing with the determination of the first three-dimensional structures of viruses in late 1970′s and early 1980′s. I am just waiting for a copyright permission to reproduce an image. Hopefully, it will not be too long.

In the meantime though, I cannot resist to write a few lines to introduce a special issue of Nature dealing with ‘Crystallography at 100′.
There are many articles in this special issue that can give you valuable insights into the science, the discoveries in diverse sciences among them chemistry and biology, the achievements of women in crystallography, and also a perspective into the future avenues of the field such as Free-Electron X-ray lasers that may again revolutionize structural biology. An excellent feature is a time line of the developments in field that can be very useful for the newcomer. The article by Georgina Ferry about women in crystallography reviews the tremendous impact that a relative small number of women have had in the development crystallography, among them Dorothy Hodgkin (Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1964). There are also suggestions for the younger crystallographers seeking employment. A pleasure to read and a treasure trove of information and insights.  I will just enter here the link and let you pick and choose from this timely issue.

http://www.nature.com/news/specials/crystallography-1.14540

As soon as I can, I will post the upcoming article about the first structures of viruses.
Stay tuned and in the meantime, enjoy the articles in this special issue of Nature.

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About Cele Abad-Zapatero

Biophysicist, Protein Crystallographer, Drug Designer and Science Writer. Licenciado Degree, University of Valladolid, Spain, 1969. Physics, Mathematics. Graduate work, University of Salamanca, 1969-1972. Biological Sciences. Fullbright Scholarship for Graduate studies in the USA (1972). Ph. D. University of Texas at Austin, 1978. Biophysics Postdoc with M.G.Rossmann, Purdue University, 1979-1985. Group Leader-Associate Research Fellow, Abbott Laboratories-Retired 2008. Adjunct Professor to the Graduate Faculty, University of Illinois at Chicago. current
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