Learning from and for the Planet Earth: structures and models in Earth, Materials and Life Sciences

The 37th congress of the Associazione Italiana di Cristallografia(AIC) was held in conjunction with the 86th congress of the Società Italiana di Mineralogia e Petrologia (SIMP), giving rise to a very stimulating challenge: tighten the relations among the Italian petrological, mineralogical and crystallographic communities, stimulate frontier researches and promote collaborations with scientists working in materials sciences, especially on the use of geomaterials for technological and environmental purposes and on biomimetic materials to improve human health and wellness.

Learning from and for the Planet Earth: structures and models in Earth, Materials and Life Sciences
The congress logo

The meeting was held under the patronage of the National Committee for the Year of Planet Earth at the very attractive Congress Centre of the Fondazione Mediaterraneo, originally built as a Dominican Fathers convent (15th Century) and beautifully located on the beach of the “Silence Bay” in Sestri Levante.

The beautiful location of the Fondazione Mediaterraneo in Sestri Levante

The rationale of the meeting was a journey from the inner towards the surface of the planet Earth, starting from the present knowledge of mantle processes, then focusing on reaction surfaces in minerals and in geo- and nano-materials and closing with the study and engineering of materials relevant for Earth, Materials and Biological Sciences. Particular emphasis was devoted to the contributions provided by the atomistic perspective to our knowledge of materials, surfaces and reactivity. The meeting included an impressive number of stimulating plenary lectures given by Italian and foreign scientists (among them E. Boanini, G. Calestani, F.C. Hawthorne, S. Iannotta, K. Janssens, A. Mattevi, M. Menzies, P. Paoli, R. Santacroce, E. Sokolova, G. Valdrè, R. Wogelius, S. Zanardi) and dealing with important issues in mineralogy, petrology, crystallography, materials sciences and allied disciplines. Several symposia summarized the state of the art of the Italian researches in the relevant fields. Details and photos can be found at:


The five-days event was attended by about 250 individuals from Italy and foreign countries and over 200 presentations (13 plenary lectures, 22 keynotes, 51 oral presentations and 118 posters) were offered. Gabriella Lucchetti efficiently chaired the organising committee, and Michele Zema coordinated the AIC team and the graphic project. Roberta Oberti, AIC president, and Simona Quartieri, SIMP president, enthusiastically supported the project since the very beginning, and will strongly foster cooperation between the two societies.

During the meeting, the Nardelli Prize was awarded ex aequo to two excellent young Italian crystallographers, Serena Tarantino (Pavia) and Michele Cianci (EMBL Hamburg) for their contribution to mineral crystal-chemistry and protein crystallography, respectively.

The AIC President, Roberta Oberti, congratulates the winners of the Nardelli Prize, Serena Tarantino and Michele Cianci.


A report of the meeting published in “Elements-an International Magazine of Mineralogy, Geochemistry and Petrology” is available here:www.cristallografia.org/uploaded/135.pdf