26 October 2013

Celebrating Crystallography

It is a century since the father and son scientific team of William Henry and William Lawrence Bragg developed Bragg’s Law which gives the angles for coherent and incoherent scattering from a crystal lattice.

It doesn’t sound like much of a breakthrough until you realize that their work in x-ray crystallography would lead to a Nobel Prize in 1915. Not many people have heard of it but it is arguably one of the greatest scientific developments of the twentieth century. We would not know much about the structure of DNA without it, for a start.

The answers to many problems have come from this method of structural analysis, pioneered by the Braggs a hundred years ago. Take a look at this video, commissioned by the Royal Institution and created by 12Foot6.