Welcome to the History Portal of the American Crystallographic Association

LINK: Meet Structural Scientists LINK: ACA Beginnings LINK: Videos/Audios 
LINK: Nobel Prize Winners LINK: Impact of Structural Science LINK: Crystallography in the Americas

Click on Meet Structural Scientists to see the People List. Over 100 crystallographers and structural scientists are featured.

Latest Additions

Encounter a wealth of fascinating details about well-known crystallographers whose obituaries have recently been added.

Frank H. Herbstein

James R. Holden

Elizabeth M. Holt


Håkon Hope
Warren Delano


Raymond E. Davis

Louis T. J. Delbaere

Lodovico Riva
Di Sanseverino

George Guy Dodson

Douglas Dorset

Latest Additions 

haasThe conversation between David Haas and David Zierler of the American Institute of Physics is now online at ACA History. Haas worked with well-known figures in the history of crystallography, and he describes the culture of the various laboratories in an engaging way. In Michael Rossmann’s lab Haas showed that cryocooling (as it is now called) prevents radiation damage to lactate dehydrogenase crystals. The subsequent publication made no immediate splash; Haas never knew until recently that cryocooling became a standard technique in macromolecular crystallography. It’s exciting to see yet another example of how fundamental research becomes crucial, sometimes years later. gluskerJenny Glusker gave a 20-minute historical survey in 2012 at the ACA meeting in Boston. The video of her talk and her slides are now available for viewing at ACA History online.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        
billingeIn his 2018 Warren Award lecture Simon J.L. Billinge introduces “crystallography for the 21st century” by contrasting the natural materials in use 100 years ago with the engineered materials of today. These modern nanomaterials are complex and inherently nonperiodic. Billinge describes how diffuse scattering measurements and the pair distribution function (PDF) can be used to characterize real materials that do not form perfect crystals.

burleyThe PDB is 50 years old! In this article, Stephen K. Burley presents three examples showing how PDB structures were crucial in the development of antineoplastic drugs. 

"The one-year anniversary of the declaration of the outbreak of SARS-CoV-2 as a pandemic, combined with the 50th anniversary of the PDB, provides a unique occasion to observe the role played by structural methods in the fight against COVID-19. A revealing portrait of the many contributions of the structural biology community is presented.


The ACA History Project showcases and preserves the history of crystallography, X-ray diffraction, and structural science through online access, articles in ACA RefleXions quarterly magazine, and videos to our YouTube channel.


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