2005 Summer Course - Small Molecule Crystallography

The 2005 ACA Summer Course in Small Molecule Crystallography was held August 7th through August 17th, on the Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) campus in Indiana, PA.



















Summary Report


The 2005 ACA Summer Course in Small Molecule Crystallography was held August 7th through August 17th, on the Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) campus in Indiana, PA. Over the past few decades, there has been a steep decline in the number of chemical crystallographers amongst university faculty. This is unfortunate because the demand for crystallographic information has steadily increased. Staff crystallographers and some industrial scientists have been trying to keep up with this demand, but, unfortunately, this leaves them very little time for teaching crystallography. Today, technical training in the use of instrumentation is readily available at most diffraction laboratories, but actual scientific education in the basic principles of crystallography is lacking. The Small Molecule Course at IUP is designed to fill this need. The 10-day course included 8 days of instructions (lectures in the morning, workshops in the afternoon and computer tutorials at night), a day trip to Pittsburgh, PA to visit the University of Pittsburgh, the Carnegie Museum and the Church Brew Pub and a final day allotted for student presentations. This year, eighteen students representing six countries attended (4 from Brazil, 1 from Jamaica, 1 from Singapore, 2 from Turkey, 1 from the United Kingdom and 9 from the United States). Our teaching staff included 12 members from academia, national laboratories and industry. On the final day, 13 of the 18 students attending submitted a questionnaire to help evaluate the course and make future improvements. The questionnaire was rated on a scale of 1-5, with 5 being excellent. Those that submitted the questionnaire unanimously judged the course as highly successful and stated that they would recommend the course to others. Average scores for whether they enjoyed the course scientifically and socially were 4.85 and 3.92, respectively.

This year, Bruker-AXS and Rigaku/MSC used the summer course to demonstrate their latest instrumentation. Besides our in-house D8 Advance and CAD4 diffractometers, Bruker-AXS set-up an APEX II single crystal diffractometer (supported by Charles Campana) and Rigaku/MSC set-up a SPIDER single crystal diffractometer (supported by Lee Daniels) and a MINIFLEX powder diffractometer (supported by Lori Fields). These individuals and instruments were tremendous additions to the course and made very positive impacts upon both the students and faculty! We especially wish to thank Susan Byram (Bruker-AXS), Joseph Ferrara (Rigaku/MSC) and Thomas McNaulty (Rigaku/MSC) for showing such strong support for crystallographic education. They clearly care about the future of the crystallographic community. We would also like to thank Scott Field (Cephalon, Inc.) for allowing us to recruit the indispensable services of Curtis Haltiwanger whose assistance was truly appreciated.

The students rated the course administration a 3.85 for advanced publicity and a 4.62 for responsiveness to student needs. The majority of the students felt the duration of the course was just right (10 of 13). Surprisingly, the remaining 3 stated the course was too short! The students felt that Indiana, PA was an acceptable course location and gave it an overall score of 4.0.

Our lecture series consisted of 25 presentations covering a wide range of single crystal and powder topics. Students were given a hard copy of all lecture notes as well as a CD-ROM containing all notes, presentations, tutorials and course photographs. These materials were rated highly by the students. The lectures where well received and given a 4.62 in the category "did the lectures meet my needs", but only a 3.58 on the pace of the lectures. Clearly, the students felt that we disseminated too much information too quickly. This year, one of our workhorse lecturers was David Duchamp who proved to be a tremendous lecturer who willingly volunteered to pick up extra lecture duties due to unforeseen circumstances. We would also like to thank Robert Stewart for his excellent job explaining difficult mathematical concepts. He is without doubt a mathematical wizard! We also had the good fortune of having Charles Weeks from the Hauptman-Woodward Institute visit to give a guest lecture on Shake and Bake.
Our tutorials were a major improvement over the last two years. In the past, the computer lab scored a dismal 3.1, but this year that rating rose to 4.85! The students evaluated our tutorials highly and gave a score of 4.5 to "did the tutorials meet your needs" and a 4.31 to "did the tutorials have adequate supervision". The success of the tutorial sessions was not only due to the high quality of the computer lab, but also due to the tremendous work done by Curtis Haltiwanger and the wonderful powder diffraction duet of James Kaduk and Brian Toby. This year we had many tutorial topics including those involving the CSD and the PDF-4 in which John Faber of the ICDD donated one-month evaluation copies to the students. These databases were discussed by our resident expert John Woolcock. James Kaduk and Brian Toby offered an excellent series of powder diffraction tutorials ranging from the use of GSAS/EXPGUI to Rietveld analysis and phase identification. These two seem to have a synergistic affect when they work together! Curtis Haltiwanger presented a tutorial on SHELX and spent numerous hours working with the students solving crystal structures and David Duchamp gave a tutorial on his CRYSTMOL structure evaluation software and gave all participating students a licensed copy.

Our experimental sessions were much better received then previous years and 24 single crystal and powder data sets were collected during the course. The evaluations on the experimental sessions were as follows "did they meet your needs" 4.33, "did you have adequate supervision" 4.42. These sessions were successful due to the indefatigable trio of Chuck Campana, Lee Daniels and Lori Fields. These individuals worked with the students into the wee hours of the morning. Their contributions were indispensable!

The organizers are grateful for the direct financial support donated by the ACA, USNC/Cr, PDS, Bruker-AXS, Rigaku/MSC, IUP and Cephelon, Inc. who collectively donated $11,600 to the course. These generous donations allowed us to award 12 full scholarships to students. The USNC/Cr donation also covered travel awards to gifted South American scholars.

Lastly, we would like to thank IUP for its support in making the course successful. The university provided excellent lecture and computer facilities and allocated two university vans for student transportation. We would also like to thank Pat Craven for organizing the course picnic at the Cherry Ridge alpaca farm and finally, we would also like to thank Raymond Sachs (IUP Physics graduate student) for volunteering for the thankless duty of driving the van back and forth to the airport.

Overall, we feel that the course was very successful and we are planning to offer the course again in the summer of 2006.

Charles H. Lake and Bryan M. Craven

 Young Scientists