Welcome to the History Portal of the ACA


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 archival at the Niels Bohr Library and Archives in College Park, MD. 


In celebration of the 2014 International Year of Crystallography and the international nature of structural science, here are links to other history resources.  For example, the IUCr website has links from the ACA on the history of crystallography and the Diamond Light Source (UK) has a new documentary film on the history of crystallography, focusing on the Braggs.

 Support the History Website 

Latest Additions

NEW SECTION: Impact of Structural Science

20th century advances are described for the general public.
More to come. Contributions are welcome!

Philip Coppens

Philip Coppens was a pioneer in charge-density determinations from x-ray diffraction experiments. In this autobiography he describes his varied research interests over his 50+ year career.

Gregory A. Petsko"Forty Years of Crystallographic Studies of Protein Structure, Function and Dynamics or Some Like It Cold - But Should They?"

In this video of his ACA Buerger Award presentation Greg describes some of his studies of enzymatic structure and function; he concludes with a dramatic proposal to the protein crystallography community.  

Nadrian C. Seeman

In this lively account Nadrian Seeman describes his career in crystallography and his inventive adaptation of DNA structures to make nanodevices.  

John Helliwell

John recognized the importance of synchrotron radiation to crystallography; he received the 2014 ACA Patterson Award for his pioneering work in the field.

Contribute Your Memoir and Photographs


Tell us about your career in government, industry, or academia. We are interested in all aspects of the history of structural science, crystallography, and x-ray diffraction — instrumentation, teaching, research advances, research groups and organizations. Potential authors are encouraged to contact Virginia Pett.

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