PUBLIC TALK: What is X-ray Crystallography and How Did It Transform Our View of the World?
|What is X-ray Crystallography and How Did It Transform Our View of the World?
A public talk by Stephen Curry, Professor of Structural Biology, Imperial College London.
Just over a hundred years ago a narrow beam of X-rays was fired at a crystal for the very first time. The experiment, an early attempt to investigate the nature of this recently-discovered radiation, showed that it was wavelike and so constituted a new type of light. Although that was in itself a profound discovery, scientists realised immediately that the far more interesting outcome of the experiment was the revelation that X-rays could be used to ‘see’ the atomic structure of matter in three dimensions at a level of detail beyond the reach of even the most powerful microscopes. The technique of X-ray crystallography, first used to work out the atomic structure of simple crystals and minerals, has since been applied to the far more elaborate molecular structures found in chemistry and biology. It is arguably one of the greatest scientific advances of the 20th century. In this lecture Professor Curry will recount the curious origin of the technique (including its Australian roots), explain how it works and discuss how crystallography opened up an entirely new landscape for scientists to explore.
This lecture is part of the International Year of Crystallography lecture series at The University of Western Australia, sponsored by the Institute of Advanced Studies and the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry.
Cost: Free but RSVP required to https://www.ias.uwa.edu.au/lectures/crystallography
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