About I’m a Scientist

I’m a Scientist is like school science lessons meet the X Factor! School students choose which scientist gets a prize of £500 to communicate their work. Scientists and students talk on this website. They both break down barriers, have fun and learn. But only the students get to vote.

This is the Crystallography Zone. It has a range of scientists studying all different topics. Who gets the prize? YOU decide!

STFCThe Crystallography Zone is funded by the Science & Technology Facilities Council. Their sites such as Daresbury, Diamond Light Source & ISIS provide facilities for crystallography.

About this Zone

X-ray crystallography revealed the structure of DNA, image by Yikrazuul for Wikimedia

X-ray crystallography revealed the structure of DNA, image by Yikrazuul for Wikimedia

Crystallography is the science that looks at the way atoms are arranged in solids. So basically examining microscopic atoms and molecules to figure out what they look like and how they work.

The word comes from the Greek words crystallon, which means cold or frozen drop (referring to solids with a degree of transparency), and grapho, which means write (not sure what this has to do with looking at atoms and molecules!).

X-rays are often used to look at the atoms and molecules, and the structure of a huge range of different molecules can be looked at, from those found in the human body to those in minerals and metals.

X-ray crystallography is the main way to work out the molecular structures of proteins and DNA and RNA in the body. In fact this was how the double helix structure of DNA was discovered.

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