Perspectives in Crystallography: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Perspectives in Crystallography

1st Edition

By John R. Helliwell

CRC Press

155 pages | 11 Color Illus. | 75 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9781498732109
pub: 2015-11-16
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pub: 2015-11-16
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Crystallography is one of the most multidisciplinary sciences, with roots in fields as varied as mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, materials science, computation and earth and planetary science. The structural knowledge gained from crystallography has been instrumental in acquiring new levels of understanding in numerous scientific areas. Perspectives in Crystallography provides an overview of the current state of the field, reviews its historical origins and explains how crystallography contributes to the sustainability of life. This book resonates with the recent United Nations and UNESCO International Year of Crystallography, a celebration of its achievements and importance, undertaken with the International Union of Crystallography.

The author of this book is the editor in chief of Crystallography Reviews, where some of the contents have been previously published. Here, subjects of interest to specialists and non-specialists have been brought together in a single source. The book opens with a description of the ways to explain crystallography to diverse general audiences. It also addresses various topics in crystallography, including:

  • The evolution and importance of synchrotron radiation to crystallography
  • The structural chemistry and biology of colouration in marine crustacea
  • Predicting protonation states of proteins versus crystallographic experimentation

The book then offers a projection of crystal structure analysis in the next 100 years and concludes by emphasizing the societal impacts of crystallography that allow for sustainability of life.

Perspectives in Crystallography offers a threefold look into the past, present and long-term development and relevance of crystal structure analysis. It is concerned not only with the state of the field, but with its role in the perpetuation of life on earth. As such, it is a reference of vital interest to a broad range of analytical and practical sciences.


"I would like to recommend the book 'Perspectives in Crystallography' to all crystallographers."

Huimin Lin, Editor of Crystals (IF: 2.075, ISSN 2073-4352), SCIE journal, MDPI, BASEL).

"The author of the book is well known for his significant contributions to the development of beamlines dedicated to biocrystallography at several synchrotron light sources. Helliwell is also among the brightest users of this dedicated instrumentation, and the results published under his leadership are among the most important in elucidating the molecular structures of proteins by X-ray and, sometimes, neutron diffraction…

Among others, the author has held important positions at the service of the University of Manchester, the International Union of Crystallography (IUCr) and the European Crystallographic Association (ECA). Helliwell has always paid great attention to the promotion of crystallography at various levels: from primary-school pupils, to students looking for their choice of university studies and funders of scientific research…

…recommended to biocrystallographers looking for highlights of the history of their topic and, more generally, to people interested in the crucial impact of synchrotron radiation on structural crystallography."

Giovanni Ferraris, Acta Cryst. (2016). A72, 512–513.

"Helliwell's Perspectives is a collection of articles and lectures by the author celebrating the 100th anniversary of the first crystal structures (1912) and the UNESCO International Year of Crystallography. The book covers a broad range of topics…"

Joseph Ferrara for the International Union of Crystallography Newsletter, Volume 24, Number 1.

"The current book describes efforts during the International Year of Crystallography 2014 to make the public aware of the impact in everyone’s life of crystallography… Three excellent chapters describe the work of some British pioneers in this field… It is no surprise that this book also covers some of the significant advances in synchrotron and neutron crystallography over recent years… Another challenge that is described in the book is the determination of the protonation state of various sites in a protein… One value of the book is to have these articles in one volume, many of which have previously been published in this journal.

The author is a highly experienced crystallographer, John R Helliwell, now retired from his professorial duties in Manchester. He can now choose among challenging tasks all over the world where his broad expertise is needed, including being the editor of this journal."

Anders Liljas, Biochemistry and Structural Biology, Lund University, Sweden, for Crystallogr. Rev. May 2016,

'FOR readers of Crystallography News John Helliwell will be a well-knownand well-respected person: BCASpring Meeting chairman, ECAPresident and IUCr journal and Crystallography Reviews editor. Hisbook immediately grabs one’sattention… John Helliwell has played to his own strengths, which are in particularly exciting areas… the comprehensive reference lists (165 references at the end of Chapter 4 alone) provide plenty of scope for further reading.’

Carl Schwalbe, Crystallography News, June 2017.

Table of Contents


Explaining ‘What Is Crystal Structure Analysis?’ for a General Audience


The Centennial of the First X-Ray Crystal Structures

John R. Helliwell

Honouring the Two Braggs: The First X-Ray Crystal Structure and the First X-Ray Spectrometer

John R. Helliwell


The Evolution of Synchrotron Radiation and the Growth of Its Importance in Crystallography

John R. Helliwell

An Evaluation Review of the Prediction of Protonation States in Proteins versus Crystallographic Experiment

Stuart J. Fisher, James Wilkinson, Richard H. Henchman and John R. Helliwell

The Structural Chemistry and Structural Biology of Colouration in Marine Crustacea

John R. Helliwell

Where Is Crystal Structure Analysis Heading in the Future?


Crystallography and Sustainability

About the Author

John R. Helliwell is emeritus professor of chemistry at the University of Manchester, United Kingdom.He has a DPhil in molecular biophysics from the University of Oxford and a Doctor of Science Physics degree from the University of York. He has presented crystallography and research to diverse audiences in academic and scientific civil service contexts and has served the International Union of Crystallography as a representative in several global organisations. He has also chaired science advisory committees in Japan, Australia, the United States and Europe. He received the Patterson Award of the American Crystallographic Association and the Perutz Prize of the European Crystallographic Association, and is a fellow of the Institute of Physics, the Royal Society of Chemistry, the Royal Society of Biology and the American Crystallographic Association.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
MEDICAL / Biochemistry
SCIENCE / Chemistry / General
SCIENCE / Chemistry / Physical & Theoretical