International Union of Crystallography

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Other languages

Union internationale de cristallographie (Fr). Unione Internazionale di Cristallografia (It). 国際結晶学連合 (Ja).

The IUCr is a scientific union adhering to the International Council for Science (ICSU). Its objectives are to promote international cooperation in crystallography and to contribute to all aspects of crystallography, to promote international publication of crystallographic research, to facilitate standardization of methods, units, nomenclatures and symbols, and to form a focus for the relations of crystallography to other sciences.

The IUCr fulfils these objectives by publishing in print and electronically primary scientific journals through Crystallography Journals Online, the series of reference volumes International Tables for Crystallography, distributing the quarterly IUCr Newsletter, maintaining the online World Directory/Database of Crystallographers, awarding the Ewald Prize and organising the triennial Congress and General Assembly.


Following early informal international contacts before the Second World War, coherent societies representing the young science of X-ray crystallography were formed in the USA and the UK during the early 1940s. Following a conference in London in 1946, a movement developed to create an international union. Draft Statutes and By-Laws were submitted to ICSU (at that time the International Council of Scientific Unions) and the IUCr was formally admitted to ICSU on 7 April 1947. The Union was formally inaugurated at the first of its triennial General Assemblies at Harvard University (28 July - 3 August 1948).

A primary motivation of the sponsors of the IUCr was the publication of a journal managed by the crystallographic community, and in April 1948 the first issue of Acta Crystallographica appeared. Subsequently the journal was split into parts, and additional titles were added to the list of serial publications produced by the Union. Other publishing activities were undertaken, including the reference series International Tables for Crystallography, abstracts of published structures in the series Structure Reports (1948-1993) that prefigured the establishment of crystallographic databases, a directory of crystallographers and informal newsletters.

Scientific activities were supervised by a number of Commissions, covering in time such areas as aperiodic crystals, biological macromolecules, charge, spin and momentum densities, crystal growth, nomenclature, teaching, electron diffraction, neutron scattering, powder diffraction and small-angle scattering.


The Union is organized and incorporated as an Association governed by Articles 60 and following of the Swiss Civil Code and by the present Statutes of Incorporation; of unlimited duration; and domiciled in Geneva, Switzerland.

The members of the Union are Adhering Bodies, one for each country (usually a National Academy, National Research Council, scientific society or similar). The members jointly form the General Assembly; influence of a member depends on its category of membership, which is linked to the size of its national community and associated payment of dues.

The business of the Union is conducted under the auspices of the elected Officers forming an Executive Committee, and through the work of the scientific Commissions. Administrative duties are carried out through the efforts of a salaried Executive Secretary and associated staff.

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