Crystallography: World of Wonders

a workshop for high school teachers


Saturday, May 24, 2014

New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science
1801 Mountain NW

Albuquerque, NM 87104


Organized by Cora Lind and Claudia Rawn for

Albuquerque Public School teachers


Structure - It's Everywhere!
The U.S. National Committee for Crystallography announces a crystallography education workshop offered in conjunction with the American Crystallographic Association (ACA) on May 24, 2014, at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science. This one-day workshop is designed as a continuing education opportunity for high school teachers, and will supply teachers with theoretical background and hands-on activities to design lesson and experiment plans that can be taken back to the classroom.


Crystallography has influenced many important areas of today's society. Its main goal is to investigate the atomic level structure of molecules and materials. Most solids have highly ordered, repetitive structures that are analyzed by diffraction methods. Structure is everywhere, and structure is important, as it determines the properties of each material. Knowledge of atomic level structure gives scientists insights into how materials function, and opportunities to tailor their properties.

Structure is used by many, but few stop to consider its roots in crystallography. The bond lengths and angles in molecular drawings used in chemistry classes are a result of crystal structure analyses. The three-dimensional pictures of proteins, enzymes, and complexes were created from crystallographic data. The external shape of mineral crystals is related to their atomic level structures. It is the goal of this workshop to give participants an appreciation of structure, and to illuminate basic crystallographic principles and how they relate to structural pictures used in science classes. Concepts will be introduced at an age-appropriate level for incorporation in K-12 teaching.

The workshop will cover both theory and hands-on exercises. We will start with basic concepts like repeating motifs, crystal systems, and mineral crystals. Some very basic structures will be chosen to construct crystallographic models with readily available materials like legos and yarn. Different types of bonding and the effect of bonding on structure and properties will be introduced.

Diffraction basics will be visualized using lasers and gratings. For high school science classes, Bragg's law, which describes where reflections are observed in the diffraction pattern, can be derived from simple trigonometric constructions.

The importance of understanding atomic level structure and the three-dimensional packing of atoms and molecules will be apparent for biological macromolecules. The protein data bank will be introduced, and tools for searching and exploring the available information will be presented. The intimate relationship between crystallography and research fields like drug design or understanding of protein function will be explained.

Teachers are encouraged to register for this one day workshop. The fee is $15. Register here:






8:00 - 9:00

Continental breakfast and Introductions

Claudia Rawn


9:00 - 10:30

Materials Matching Game, basic concepts, building structures with Legos

Claudia Rawn


10:30 - 10:45

Morning Coffee Break



10:45 - 11:45

Diffraction Basics            

Cora Lind-Kovacs


12:00 - 1:00

Public lecture on M.C. Escher and Crystallography

Dr. Doris Schattschneider


1:00 - 1:30

Box Lunch and discussion of the Escher lecture



1:30 - 2:30

Examples of X-ray Powder Diffraction

James Kaduk


2:30 - 3:30

Biological Applications of Crystallography

Joseph Ng


3:30 - 4:00

Afternoon Coffee Break



4:00 - 5:00

Cambridge Structural Database

Colin Groom


"M.C. Escher and the Crystallographers"

a lecture presented by Dr. Doris Schattschneider


Saturday, May 24, at 12:00pm

New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science

This lecture is free and open to the public.


Doris Schattschneider holds a Ph. D. in mathematics from Yale University and is Professor Emerita of Mathematics at Moravian College, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, where she taught for 34 years.  Her primary interest is geometry.  She was Geometer and Senior Associate on the NSF-funded Visual Geometry Project that produced the software The Geometer's Sketchpad, along with videos and activity books.   She was Director for two FIPSE-funded projects that developed A Companion to Calculus and mentored several campuses in developing a course integrating precalculus review with a first course in calculus.  She has lectured and given workshops on more than 100 campuses, and at national and international meetings, on the topics of tiling and polyhedra, symmetry, dynamic geometry, geometry and art (especially M.C. Escher), and visualization in teaching. 


She is the author of more than 60 articles, and author, coauthor, or editor of several books.  These are M.C. Escher: Visions of Symmetry (new edition) Abrams, 2004, A Companion to Calculus (with K. Somers, A. Sevilla, and D. Ebersole), 2nd ed. Brooks/Cole, 2006, M.C. Escher's Legacy (editor), Springer, 2003, Geometry Turned On:  Dynamic Software in Learning, Teaching, and Research, (edited with Jim King) Math. Assn. of America, 1997, and M.C. Escher Kaleidocycles, (with Wallace Walker) Pomegranate Comunications (in print since 1977!).


She is currently an associate editor of theJournal of Mathematics and the Arts, and serves on the advisory committee of the National Museum of Mathematics, that opened in Manhattan in December 2012.


She has been active in the Mathematics Association of America (MAA) at all levels, and was editor of Mathematics Magazine 1981-1985.  In 1993 she received the national MAA Award for Distinguished Teaching of College or University Mathematics.


Her list of publications is available on request.