Impact of Structural Science 


During the 20th century structural science advanced from the first crystal structures of sodium chloride and diamond to ever-larger structures: proteins such as hemoglobin, DNA, the ribosome, viruses, and even non-crystalline materials. During the century the technology to produce x-rays progressed from the first x-ray tubes to synchrotron radiation to free electron lasers, while computer hardware and software continued to make determining structures faster and more precise. The significance of these scientific discoveries - from biology to materials science - is reflected in the Nobel Prizes awarded in the area of structural science. These discoveries impact our economy, healthcare, and our everyday understanding of the natural world. 

"Timelines of Crystallography" 

Interactive displays of the many aspects of crystallography and structural science...more

"Protein crystallography and drug discovery: recollections of knowledge exchange between academia and industry" 

Sir Thomas Blundell

In this review IUCrJ. (2017), 4, 308-321 on the occasion of the award of the 2017 Ewald Prize by the IUCr, Blundell presents a personal view of the relationship between academia and industry in the development of structure-guided drug discovery.

"Bragg Lecture 2017: The Wondrous World of Perovskites" 

Mike Glazer

In the introduction Glazer points out that both William Henry and William Lawrence Bragg were "quite competent artists". Glazer thinks that the combination of being scientists and artists led to the discovery that kicked off x-ray crystallography.

"A brief history of macromolecular crystallography, illustrated by a family tree and its Nobel fruits" 

Mariusz Jaskolski, Zbigniew Dauter, Alexander Wlodawer

From the discovery of X-rays to crystallography in the era of genomics - the contributions of 42 Nobel-Prize-winning scientists in physics, chemistry or medicine are listed. The article focuses on 24 crystallographers who made important contributions to our understanding of the structure and function of biological macromolecules and includes a colorful family tree of crystallographers.

"Economic Growth and Scientific Advancement of X-Rays" 

S. Narasinga Rao, Chief Financial Officer, ACA

What has economics to say about X-rays? After all, along with other social sciences, economics has sometimes been regarded with suspicion, even disdain, by the natural sciences...more in PDF

"From Molecules to Medicine: How Structure Helps Cure Disease" 

Greg Petsko, moderated by Martha Teeter

In this YouTube video Dr. Petsko describes how structural information is used to design drugs against neurological diseases such as Alzheimer's...more

"The Protein Data Bank archive as an open data resource" 

Helen M. Berman, Gerard J. Kleywegt, Haruki Nakamura, John L. Markley, J Comput Aided Mol Des (2014) 28:1009-1014.

In 2016 there were over 125,000 structures in the PDB. Berman et al. describe the evolution of this valuable archive in the 45 years since the PDB was founded...>PDF

"History of NSLS - First Light to Shutdown"

Alison Sundermier and Vivian Stojanoff, ACA RefleXions, 2015:2, 47-52

The year was 1982. Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) in Upton, New York was celebrating a milestone at its newest facility: the National Synchrotron Light Source (NSLS) had achieved its first light...more