ACA Beginnings

"Scientists from other societies who attend our meetings often comment on the friendliness and mutual helpfulness of crystallographers. This good spirit became a tradition in the earlier days when the Society was small, and it is hoped that it will be continued. Practical jokes were not ruled out. For example, the supplement to the program and abstracts of the 1953 meeting at University of Michigan contained many puzzling papers. Careful study showed the author, Regreub Nitram to be the mirror image of one Martin Buerger and the "emptiness function" in crystal structure analysis to be nothing more than one of the simple mathematical theorems of G. Willikers."
Elizabeth Wood and William Parrish, "History of the American Crystallographic Association"

"Background and Early History of the American Crystallographic Association" 

Martin J. Buerger, 1974 ACA Annual Meeting, College Park, PA

The American Crystallographic Association began life on January 1, 1950. It held its first meeting April 10-12 of that year at Pennsylvania State College in State College, Pennsylvania. Today*, a little over a quarter of a century later the society holds its 25th meeting in the same locality, to find that the place is called University Park, the home of Pennsylvania State University... read more

 "History of the American Crystallographic Association"

Elizabeth Wood and William Parrish 

The need for a society dealing exclusively with crystallography was apparent in the U.S.A. for several years. Crystallographers presented papers at the Mineralogical Society of America, American Physical Society, American Chemical Society and other large national societies,but there was little opportunity to discuss papers of special crystallographic interest in a large meeting of mineralogists, physicists, or others... read more

 "Structure Determining Methods"

David Sayre, 1974 ACA Annual Meeting, College Park, PA

One of the areas in which American crystallography has made a large contribution is that of structure determining methods, i.e. methods of passing from the diffraction intensities of a structure to the structure itself. An early example is the calculation of the first Fourier maps of electron density... read more

 "ACA 50th Anniversary: Presidential memoirs, Exhibitor memoirs, Nostalgia"

ACA Newsletter, Summer 2000

A collection of photos, memoirs from past presidents and exhibitors, and items of nostalgia... read more



Meetings were a little more formal in the "olden" days - this photo (courtesy of Hugo Steinfink) 
was taken at the second ACA Meeting in New Hampton, New Hampshire, August 21, 1950.


For more information about the history of the ACA and archival materials, see the following links to the Niels Bohr Library & Archives (American Institute of Physics):

ACA Archival Materials

ACA Institutional History