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Scientific report dell’INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL OF CRYSTALLOGRAPHY 2024 di Erice

59 th Course
Erice, Italy: 30 MAY – 8 JUNE 2024

President of the Centre: Professor A. Zichichi
Director of the School: Dr. Giovanna Scapin; Director Emeritus Professor Sir Tom Blundell, FRS
Directors of the Course: Professors Dave Billing, Matteo Leoni and Dubravka Sisak-Jung


Scientific report of the course


Title meeting: “Powder Diffraction: Advancing Real Materials in the Information Era”
Location: Ettore Majorana Foundation and Center for Scientific Culture – Erice (TP) – Italy
Date: 31 May – 8 June 2024
Website address: www.crystalerice.org/2024

The AIC provided the course with 1300 € and this money were used to partially support the attendance of two student, young members of the AIC, contributing to the registration fee. The registration fee includes the registration for the course, accommodations, full board, and the transportations during the course. The course was very well received since the number of applications were higher than the prearranged number of students. At the end of the selection, there were 75 attendees and 29 speakers and tutor leaders. Considering all the participants, the course was attended by 63 (60,6%) men and 41 (41,7%) women, from 28 different countries. Particularly, among the speakers there are 65,5% male (19) and 34,5% female (10) lecturers while among the students there were 58,7% of male (44) and 41,3 % of female attendees (31). Participants were largely from university (PhD students, postdoctoral and young researchers), with some industry participants. The program was designed to provide an overview of a wide range of topics and encourage participants towards further learning. The daily schedule included either lectures or workshops in the morning, followed by lectures in the afternoon. The sequence of lectures was scheduled to start with some of basic concepts of powder diffraction and scattering and to progress to more contemporary methods (hybrid and tandem techniques, computational methods, machine learning). The school offered 12 workshops, aiming to introduce participants to software packages and their practical use. Even if a hands-on tutorial was not always possible, the students were provided with extensive documentation and some step-by-step instructions to continue the learning independently after the school. Two topical workshops included Python programming basics and the use of Python for machine learning in crystallography and powder diffraction. These can be considered a first of their kind in a crystallography school, and they provided soft skills likely to prove invaluable in the future. Two poster sessions were organized after the lectures, giving the young participants a chance to showcase their work and discuss with the lecturers and more senior participants. Fourtytwo posters were presented in total, half in each session. Each poster session was preceded by a poster preview session (at lunchtime), to increase the time for poster viewing and informal discussions. During the closing ceremony, several awards were presented. For the posters, the first place was assigned to Anna Mauri (University of Insubria, IT); the second to Marta Morana (University of Florence, IT) and the third one was conferred to Mandela Toku (University of Ghana, GH). One poster prize was offered by IUCr and it was awarded to Benjamin Fahl (ETH Zürich, CH). The Lodovico Prize (acknowledging the most active student inside and outside the lecture hall) was conferred to Francesco Colombo (University of Modena e Reggio Emilia, IT). During the course, one afternoon and the following evening were devoted to the 50th Anniversary Celebration of the ISCoC, founded in 1974. Firstly, participants challenged each other in the game “Guess the Crystallographer” and afterwards, during the dinner, a prize for the best golden object was awarded. International School of Crystallography (IScoC) www.crystalerice.org The course included two panel discussions. The panel on metadata and data aimed to raise awareness of importance of producing meaningful, correct and standardized powder diffraction data. The panelists included beamline scientists, industry professionals and university professors. The panel “Young crystallographers ask”aimed for an open discussion between participants and lecturers on science and careers in crystallography.

At the end of the Course, participants were asked to participate in a survey to judge and comment on the quality of the Course. Their responses indicates that a similar meeting should be held at least in 3-4 years’ time. The 67% of the voting participants scores the course higher than 90/100.


Dr. Annalisa Guerri
Executive Secretary of the ISCoC