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Subcommittee on the Union Calendar
IUCr Sponsorship and Financial Support

International School of Crystallography
44th Course – Powder Diffraction – The Power of Powder Diffraction

Held on June 2 – 12, 2011

This intensive course was held in parallel with the course "Electron Crystallography –New Methods to Explore Structure and Properties of the Nano World". It involved some 78 participants and 26 speakers from 30 countries. The intensive program included 39 lectures, 9 software demonstrations and 12 workshops. There were a total of four poster sessions and twelve selected short oral contributions. Lecture notes, including written contributions by the invited speakers and poster abstracts, and pictures of all contributors were distributed to all attendees upon arrival in Erice. All this was backed-up by excellent IT facilities and support.

This course was intended to serve as a complete introduction to the diverse field of powder diffraction, providing a firm grounding from which attendees can build future research achievements. Days were largely themed, covering topics including fundamentals, instrumentation at the frontiers, structure solution, challenging systems, complementary methods, impefect materials, quantitative phase analysis, textured systems and forward looks. By way of example, instrumentation was covered from the basic laboratory level through to the facility (synchrotron and neutron) level, with a view to highlighting the various different levels at which powder diffraction is performed and the scientific opportunities that such diversity permits.

The speakers were all recognised experts in their field, who had made significant efforts to present complex material in such as way that it was accessible to an audience that contained a wide range of expertise and experience. Session chairs, selected from the pool of speakers, ensured that lectures ran to time, a very important consideration in such a busy schedule. Lectures were frequently reinforced by demonstration sessions and follow-up workshops, where participants could learn about software and methods under the guidance of expert practitioners. In general, workshops were structured around carefully prepared tutorial-type examples. Participants were encouraged to bring their own laptops and install the relevant software / data, and learn sufficient in the workshop that they could continue to work with the software long after the close of the meeting. The vast majority of speakers were present for the duration of the course and there was plenty of time for subsequent informal discussions during the various evening get-togethers. Contact between speakers and participants was further enhanced by a tutor-tutee type arrangement, whereby a group of participants could meet with a designated tutor (i.e. a speaker) for lunch.

Several awards of books were made for the best poster presentation and the main ('Lodovico') award was made to Paul Smart of the University of Sheffield, for his questions and contributions to discussions over the duration of the course. The contributions of several other participants were recognized by book awards.
The meeting undoubtedly benefitted from running in parallel with the electron crystallography course, and the joint lecture and workshop sessions were very well attended and positively received. The nature of the Ettore Majorana Centre, coupled with the tireless efforts of the local organizing committee, contributed massively to the success of the meeting. Feedback from the participants was overwhelmingly positive, with an average score of 90/100 returned for the meeting overall. Importantly, more than 98% of attendees expressed the feeling that there should be another meeting along similar lines, held within the next 6 years. Various suggestions for improvements at future meetings were also received, particularly in respect of maximising the value of the workshop component.

Please find here the results of the questionnaire that you filled at the end of the Course



Erice 2011 Powder Diffraction

Poster Prize

1. Andrew K. Inge, Stockholm University , Sweden :
2. Dubravka Sisak, ETH, Zurich, Switzerland
3. Martina Vrankic, Rudjer Boskovic Institute, Zagreb, Croatia

Poster Prize - Special Mention

1. Niels Bindzus, Aarhus University , Aarhus , Denmark
2. Tanja Gnutzmann, BAM Federal Inst. Of Mat. Res. & Tes ting, Berlin, Germany
3. Marcin Oszajca, Jagiellonian University , Krakow , Poland
4. Jasminka Popovic, Rudjer Boskovic Inst., Zagreb , Croatia
5. Casper Ibsen, Aarhus University , Aarhus , Denmark

Lodovico prize - For the most dynamic student. This award recognizes both scientific ability and interpersonal engagement, i n and out of the lecture hall, in memory of Lodovico.

Paul Smart, University of Sheffield , Sheffield , UK

Special Mention

1. Saul Lapidus, SUNY Stony Brook, Stony Brook , USA
2. Giulio Isacco Lampronti,University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy
3. Paolo Pio Mazzeo, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy
4. Mark Senn, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK

Poster Prize and all Special Mention Awards consist of a certificate and a book from the publisher Oxford University Press. Lodovico Prize Awards consist of a prize money.


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