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Minerals and other crystalline materials to mark the International Year of Crystallography

A lecture series and a sample of specimens from the University's Museum of Natural Sciences make up the program.

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2014, International Year of Crystallography.
PHOTO: Manuel Castells
20/05/14 12:00 Laura Latorre

UNESCO has declared 2014 the International Year of Crystallography: the science dedicated to the study of subject with crystalline structure. And, as experts say, crystals surround us everywhere: they have been used for food, cosmetic or medical purposes. The United Nations agency also describes this science as"essential for sustainable development and to meet the global challenges of hunger, energy and health". The celebration also coincides with the 50th anniversary of the Nobel Prize award of Chemistry, awarded to Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin (1964) for her X-ray determination of the Structures of vitamin B12 and penicillin.

In this context, under the degree scroll of"The double beauty of crystals", the Friends of Science Club, in partnership with the University of Navarra and the Pamplona Planetarium, have organized a lecture series and a exhibition with some of the most representative minerals of the Museum of Natural Sciences of the academic center, which will be inaugurated on Wednesday 21 and can be visited until July 31 at the headquarters of the planetarium.

Esther Lasheras, professor of Chemistry and Soil Science at the University of Navarra and manager of the exhibition, describes it as"a tour of the main characteristics of minerals and natural inorganic crystals". These characteristics," she stresses, "range from the possible forms of the unit cell (crystalline systems) to the main physical properties that they present as a consequence of their composition and structure, and which often allow us to identify them".

Global Seminars & Invited Speaker Series

At the same time, a lecture series is being developed around the celebration, which includes a review of minerals in the earth, at position by Professor Lasheras; the figure of Rosalind Franklin and her essential role in the finding of DNA, by Professor Javier Novo of Genetics ; and an approach to the history of crystallography, by the chemist César Tomé, of the University of the Basque Country.

Also, José Ramón Isasi, professor of Chemistry of the University of Navarra, will dissect some crystals such as kryptonite or stalagmites; and Javier Campo, from high school of Materials Science of Aragón, will show the uses of neutrons in everyday life.

The conferences are held on Wednesdays, starting on the 21st, at 7:30 pm, at the Pamplona Planetarium.