Education Corner

Join in on special events and activities that are being coordinated with scientific conferences and societies.

The Bragg Your Pattern team has initiatives for everyone: school-aged children and their teachers/parents; IUCr 2023 meeting attendees in Melbourne, Australia; and all structural biology enthusiasts looking for educational videos and/or social media engagement.

The American Crystallographic Association (ACA) is sponsoring a contest for members with prizes of $500 for videos explaining structural science.

Bragg Your Pattern Team Photo Collage

The Bragg Your Pattern Team is made up of the five scientists below and is managed by ICMS Australasia.

Helen Maynard-Casely (top left) loves to tell stories about science.  She works as Senior Instrument Scientist at the Australian Centre for Neutron Scattering, ANSTO, and her research interest centre about the structures of materials relevant to the dwarf planets of our solar system. Chat with Helen on Twitter.

Stuart Batten (middle left) is a Professor of Chemistry at Monash University and loves to make BIG crystal structures. His research explores the relationship between the structures of molecules and materials and their properties, with a focus on coordination polymers and metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) with novel magnetic properties or the ability to absorb certain molecules (for storing hydrogen, capturing carbon dioxide, separating chemical mixtures, or absorbing pollutants). Electronically, he can be found at or followed on Twitter.

Emily Furlong (bottom left) is a lecturer and structural biologist at the Australian National University. She uses specialised techniques to “see” the nano-machines that bacteria need to survive and cause disease. You can reach out to Emily on Twitter.

Rosemary Young (top right) is a chemist in Melbourne who mixes metals and organic molecules to make metal-organic frameworks and coordination cages. You can find her tweeting at @rosie_j_young.

Bryce Mullens (bottom right) is a materials chemistry PhD student at the University of Sydney. He uses high energy radiation to study the structure and interaction of atoms at the nanoscale. Bryce can be found on Twitter here.

Bragg Your Pattern and IUCr

Crystallography is one of the most powerful tools in science. It has been used to determine over 173,000 of the structures in the Protein Data Bank. But this tool is quite obscure to the everyday person. Bragg Your Pattern is a science education initiative aimed at sharing the wonders of crystallography with a general audience, particularly school-aged children and their families.

In August 2023, the 26th Congress and General Assembly of the International Union of Crystallography (IUCr2023) will be held in Melbourne, Australia. This scientific meeting will bring crystallography experts from all around the world together in one place to talk about the latest developments in the field. We thought this was also a great opportunity to share the wonders of crystallography with a broader audience and so, the Bragg Your Pattern initiative was born!

As crystals contain repeating patterns of atoms and molecules (which is what makes them useful to scientists), we use the theme of patterns to introduce crystallography to a general audience. The initiative was also named after the Australian Nobel Prize winner Lawrence Bragg, who developed a mathematical equation that is essential in the crystallography process.

Through Bragg Your Pattern we are running a program of activities. There are amazing patterns all around us and we encourage people to post photos of these patterns to social media with the hashtag #BraggYourPattern. Last year, we ran a pattern competition, where school-aged children (and some adults too) submitted artworks or photographs of their favourite patterns – see the ten winning entries below!

Recently, we have been busy creating a #CrystallographyClear video series, where we’ve asked scientists to explain crystallography, how they use it and what their favourite crystal structures are to a general audience.

But our most exciting event is the Crystal-A-Con, which will run throughout the IUCr2023 congress. Crystal-A-Con will be a crystal-themed, interactive educational experience. We are planning seven stations of activities for all ages to get involved in – from building a GIANT diamond structure, to becoming a material detective. If you are heading down under in August 2023, be sure to look out for this event!

To keep up to date with the activities being planned, sign up to the Bragg Your Pattern mail list or follow us on Twitter or Instagram. Have any specific questions or want to get involved? Contact us at

Images of 10 winning entries for the 2022 Bragg Your Pattern competition.

Learn about 10 winning entries for the 2022 Bragg Your Pattern competition.

ACA Members: Create Videos and Win $500

ACA The Structural Science Society logo

The American Crystallographic Association (ACA) is launching a Video Library to help promote and develop crystallographic and 3DEM literacy in the classroom and beyond.  The Library will be available for any use by ACA members, with the intent of helping to provide effective training materials in the fundamentals of structural science.

Video Submissions from students, postdocs, and junior faculty in the ACA will be eligible for a $500 prize.  The current deadline to submit a video for award consideration is June 15, 2023.  Videos will be reviewed by members of the Young Scientist Interest Group (“YSIG”).

ACA Video Library logo

Submissions can be as simple as a few minutes of talking over a slide presentation, or as complex as a molecular animation.  A list of suggested topics is available.

The ACA is looking for videos from all members.  Giving a lecture about crystallography or 3DEM?  Record it for the ACA and receive an appreciation certificate, online acknowledgments and a “publication”, and recognition at the annual meeting.

Sreya Paladugu (University of Tennessee at Knoxville) received the first award for her video Think Big, Work Small: Total Scattering Analysis of Nanoparticles. Other videos currently available include Hands on guide to instrumentation (Jeffery Bertke, Georgetown University), Introduction to Crystallography (Allen Oliver, Notre Dame), and Understanding Structures in Literature (Carla Slebodnick, Virginia Tech).

Sreya Paladugu's video Total Scattering Analysis of Nanoparticles