A Report

Scientific Highlights.
This was the thirtyfifth teaching event in the field of Crystallography organized by the contractor at the Ettore Majorana Centre, Erice, Italy, during the last thirty years.
The scientific programme was organized as a logical progression: fundamentals, strategies and techniques for the preparation of crystal forms ("polymorphs"), procedures for their identification and characterization, importance of polymorphs in different industrial chemical environments (high-energy materials, pigments and dyes, pharmaceuticals), a number of real-life scenarios and case studies from these industries, and finally the importance and ramifications of intellectual property considerations in the development and use of different crystal forms.
The qualified professional origins of the lecturers for these topics (they were invited two years in advance, one only justifying the withdrawal with his age!) and the manner in which they covered the material is exemplary of the interdisciplinary nature of Polymorphism and its growing importance in both industrial and academic research.
F. Herbstein (Technion, Israel), a veteran crystallographic practitioner, opened with an historical survey, raising many of the questions subsequently addressed in the remainder of the event. L. Yu (Univ. of Wisconsin) laid out the thermodynamical principles and J.O. Henck (Bayer, Leverkusen) demonstrated how thermodynamical variables are conveniently summarized in an energy-temperature diagram. R. Boese (Univ. Essen) showed how thermomicroscopic methods could facilitate the identification and characterization of polymorphs. S. Reutzel (Eli Lilly Co., Indianapolis) described methods to obtain precise measurements of thermodynamic properties.
Once the groundwork had been prepared with the fundamental issues, practical examples and workshops, a number of lecturers (A. Gavezzotti, Univ. Milan; S. Price, Univ College, London; M. Ward, Univ. Minnesota, Minneapolis) described their advanced research results and headed hands-on afternoon workshops. The last two afternoons were devoted to very dynamical, open "Ask the Experts" sessions, chaired with charm and competence by S. Byrn (Purdue Univ., West Lafayette). Participants were invited to pose any kind of relevant questions (anonymously, if desired) to all of the event lecturers who were also present in the hall. The first of these sessions turned into a rather lively higher level discussion among the lecturers, which led to some criticism from the students. The second session therefore was devoted exclusively to questions raised by students, who benefited greatly by this exposure to recognized experts and personal attention to their questions and practical problems.
In order to give students a chance to present their own work they were encouraged to submit abstracts, most of which were exhibited at two evening poster sessions. In addition, twelve abstracts particularly relevant to the general lecture for a specific day were chosen for oral presentation of 20-30 minutes (Gervais, Dziubek, Van de Streek, Pulham, Schmidt, Gilardi, Wu, Dova, Comotti, De Matos, Grassman, Broder).
There was a diffused interaction with participants in the parallel meeting on Electron Crystallography, and some participants liked to shift sometimes from one meeting to the other dependent on the interest. The two crowds with basic different interests had nevertheless several occasions - see common lectures and social events - to exchange views producing an efficient way of uncommon scientific interaction.

The overall atmosphere in the course was particularly informal and friendly, which led to the establishment of many new personal and professional contacts and the opportunity for scientific collaboration. The shared Erice experience is one with long lasting effects, as course participants always recognize a bond formed during the course, and this bond can foster scientific contacts many years beyond the formal dates of the course. Ever so often, young students at the Erice crystallographic meetings become leaders, lecturers and even directors of future events.
The hands-on sessions (for which 23 PCs had been rented, a major expenditure under Cost Category D) received some criticism, mainly related to local conditioning of space and time: however, the facilities for running multiple sessions overlooked with dedication and perseverance by John Irwin, UCSF, USA, have called for much praise.

European Added Value (incl. Networking).
Nationals from EC and Associated States were an overwhelming majority. Six European nationals working outside EC Countries have been attracted. Several contacts have produced further collaboration, e.g. the uncommon talk on polymorphism of fats included in chocolate has provoked a lot of discussion and exchange of views with the dutch group, Laboratorium voor Kristallographie, Amsterdam, well represented by a young greek scientist, Eva Dova, a PhD graduated in Amsterdam. Invitations to present the lecture elsewhere and collaborative projects have thereafter initiated this new field for Crystallography.
Another exciting achievement, improved after the pioneering initiative in the Event no. 1 of this series, has been the web broadcasting. The proceedings were viewed to some extent from at least 10 countries (USA, UK, France, Canada, Belgium, Poland, Japan, Russia, India, Italy) and by up to 10 labs at one time. The lectures have been recorded, placed on the web and DVD edition distributed to those requesting them.
In addition, several opportunities have been offered in order to provide an effective route to social and multi-disciplinary scientific dialogue between novices and experts. The 30th anniversary celebration of the crystallographic activity at the Majorana Centre, a Treasure Hunt "battled" within the limited borders of the town, was a major event in this respect.

Additional Information.
The success of the Meeting is best expressed in terms of the answers to a three-pages questionnaire distributed and anonymously filled - this is our habit since 1978 - by participants before leaving. On ten questions related to purposes and successes (two different groups of scores for them), where the score varied from 0 to 4, the average of the twenty averages, our figure of merit, is 3.44 outbreaking the previous top scores of 3.39 and 3.27 reached in the years 2003 and 2002, respectively. This fits with the result observed when they were asked "How do you score (0 to 100, 100 maximum) the overall value of the meeting to you?" : the average figure from seventysix (invited speakers and "students") answers is 89.8; the top reached in the past was 88 !
Awards of a book, authored by J. Bernstein on Polymorphism, were assigned to the two most attractive poster presentations.