Judy Gallucci’s favorite structure is:

dodecahedrane hydrocarbon, C20 H20

C20H20

Source: ORTEP plot: JACS, 1986,108, 1343-44

Why?

The pentagonal dodecahedrane hydrocarbon, C20 H20, is a chemical model for one of the Platonic solids, the pentagonal dodecahedron. Synthesized by Leo Paquette & co-workers, this lovely highly symmetric molecule crystallizes in space group Fm-3 (No. 202) with Th symmetry. The asymmetric unit contains only 2 carbon atoms and 2 hydrogen atoms.—Judy Gallucci

Sumod George’s favorite structure is:

N-4-iodophenyl-N′-4′-nitrophenylurea

Iodo nitro urea

Source: RSC

Why?

The crystal structure of  N-4-iodophenyl-N′-4′-nitrophenylurea is special. This was the most important crystall structure in my PhD thesis. Here it is the weak interaction that is dominating the strong interaction in the crystal lattice. —Sumod George

Allen Weber’s favorite structure is:

Molybdenum
disulfide

MoS2

Source: phys.org

Why?

Researchers at MIT recently discovered that MoS2 has an interesting property as a semiconductor. Previously observed semiconductors become more conductive when exposed to light. In contrast MoS2 becomes less conductive when exposed to light by converting their free electrons into trions which have the same charge as an electron but is much more massive effectively dulling conductivity.  —Allen Weber

Stephen Toth’s favorite structure is:

Haemoglobin

Haemoglobin

Source: http://www.wellcomecollection.org/whats-on/exhibitions/from-atoms-to-patterns/image-galleries/x-ray-crystallography.aspx

Why?

Hemoglobin is my favorite because I draw Hemoglobin every other weekend for my job at the hospital and it has been nothing but fun and sometimes challenging (some patients are hard sticks). —Stephen Toth

David Nissenbaum’s favorite structure is:

Chromium(i)-terphenyl dimer

Cr(i)-terphenyl

Source: Science 310, 844 (2005); Tailuan Nguyen et al.

Why?

The Chromium(i)-terphenyl dimer is the first quintuply-bonded compound to have been synthesized. Pushing the boundaries of chemistry is always crucial and these are intricate electronic-transfer systems. This also reported a metal-carbon "interaction" between the chromium center and the carbon on the opposite side of the metal-metal bond.—David Nissenbaum

Renée Szostek’s favorite structure is:

Hexamethylbenzene

image

Source: Wikipedia

Why?

One of my favorite X-ray crystalline structures is hexamethylbenzene, which Kathleen Lonsdale first elucidated in 1928. Her X-ray crystalline structure showed that benzene possesses hexagonal symmetry and that it is a flat molecule. In addition, her structure showed that aliphatic C-C bonds and aromatic C-C bonds differ considerably in their length. The idea of differences in bond length contributed to the idea of resonance in chemical bonds, which, in turn, led to significant advances in chemistry.  —Renée Szostek

Renée Szostek’s favorite structure is:

Penicillin

image

Source: C&EN and the Science Museum, London

Why?

My favorite X-ray crystal structure is penicillin, which Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin first elucidated. Penicillin was the first molecule to have its structure elucidated entirely by X-ray diffraction data, which Hodgkin obtained through arduous effort. The X-ray crystal structure showed that penicillin contained a beta-lactam ring, the existence of which had previously been the subject of considerable debate. Penicillin has been vitally important in combating infections and diseases. Hodgkins' elucidation of its structure, therefore, has benefited medicine and human health, as well as chemistry.  —Renée Szostek

Mukund Mehrotra’s favorite structure is:

Imatinib with c-Abl Kinase

Imatinib, John Kuriyan 2002 Can Res

Source: Wikipedia

Why?

The discovery of Imatinib (Glivec) launched the new era of *magic bullets* to treat all types of cancers. Currently about 30 kinase inhibitors are FDA approved to treat cancers and autoimmune diseases. The discovery of Imatinib was based on structure-based drug design, including co-crystal structure of it with c-Abl kinase domain. The kinase inhibitors, by virtue of selective-targettng, exhibit much less side effects than chemotherapy.—Mukund Mehrotra

Chris Mullins’s favorite structure is:

C11H18N4SNi*H2O

image

Source: Mercury software, structure published in IC

Why?

This was one of the last crystal structures collected from my graduate work in the Grapperhaus group at UofL. We worked really hard to show that this compound had a connection to the NiSOD studies going on at the time, finally getting it published in Inorg. Chem. in 2009. The compound also had some interesting properties relating to water channels that have never gotten published. It is my hope that my current small research group will eventually reconnect with this research someday!—Chris Mullins

Steven Stellman’s favorite structure is:

guanylyl-3′,5′-cytidine (GpC)

GPC 02

Source: Stellman et al., Biopolymers 1973;12:2731-50

Why?

It's the only crystal structure that I ever helped to solve. I was a post-doc with Robert Langridge, who had done his doctorate with Watson & Crick's co-Nobelist Maurice Wilkins. Bob set up the first computer graphic lab at Princeton, and I worked with a team that used graphical methods instead of wire models to generate trial structures of dinucleoside phosphates that were fragments of RNA. Ours was one of the early success stories. Geometrical structures, of course, were coded line by line in those days. Our innovation was applying minimization methods with chemical constraints to the initial guess to get a decent structure prediction. You then put in the trial coordinates, ran a fourier transform, and calcuated an R-factor against the actual X-ray data. I still recall the late-night thrill of inspecting the output and "knowing" we had the right answer. But life goes on. I have been an epidemiologist for the past 40 years and haven't had much call to do crystallography since then.—Steven Stellman

Mark-Robin Giolando’s favorite structure is:

4,6-Dinitro-N,N’-di-n-octylbenzene-1,3-diamine

CrystalPicture

Source: Mark Giolando

Why?

I think this structure is cool because a friend and I started to learn about crystallography while in sophomore year of high school. This beautiful crystal structure was the result of our first analysis. Later it would published in a scientific journal. Besides its memory value, this crystal also appeals to me through its beauty and fascinating packing. This crystal structure’s symmetry and long hydrocarbon chains are what make it beautiful. It is amazing what can be done with invisible X-rays.—Mark-Robin Giolando

Michael Funk’s favorite structure is:

Methionine synthase cobalamin-binding domain (PDB code 1BMT)

2014-09-01 17.21.22

Source: Michael Funk

Why?

Cobalamin (or vitamin B12) is an essential nutrient for humans, but it is also a beautiful and fascinating molecule. Cobalamin contains a cobalt atom locked in a ring of carbon and nitrogen atoms. The metal gives this cofactor its brilliant colors, from pink to red to orange, and powerful reactivity as a carrier of methyl groups and initiator of radical reactions. For many years it was unknown how enzymes bound cobalamin and used it to perform difficult chemistry. The structure of the cobalamin-binding domain of methionine synthase (Drennan et al., 1995 Science) revealed that cobalamin binds to the protein in a different conformation than what exists in solution. The protein interacts with the cobalt atom at the core of cobalamin to alter its reactivity. Subsequent studies on other cobalamin-binding enzymes have confirmed and expanded the conclusions gained from this ground breaking structure. In the above 3D printed structure, cobalamin (yellow) is bound to the cobalamin-binding domain of methionine synthase (green).—Michael Funk

Dagmar Eileen Bonet’s favorite structure is:

Hexagonal Rosette (flower like)

tmp_images-1326294119

Source: rockpow.com/archive2.htm

Why?

It's bundled tabular form appear like rose flower petals, or a geometrical shape. Both its appearance, and the ability to self assemble, and self grow it's crystals reminds me much of an actual plant that provides for itself to develop. It's also considered to be rare due to being one of the few carbobarates mankind knows about.The ranges in its appearance can also be from a milky white to colorless slightly see through appearance, which in a way made me think of white roses. I also remember in grade school working with these during a science lesson, and remembered the sparky particles all over them which I felt were very pretty. —Dagmar Eileen Bonet

Joseph Charlonis’s favorite structure is:

Indium Phosphide

In1P1-22398807

Source:
http://www.webelements.com/compounds/indium/indium_phosphide.html

Why?

I've been doing research on Indium Phosphide quantum dots and aside from being wonderful laser diodes, can be used to teach students about the excitation of electrons (under UV light), band gap theory as well as particle in a sphere calculations. There are also other potential uses than we may know of for now.—Joseph Charlonis

Clint Holderby’s favorite structure is:

DNA

image

Source: Myweb.usf.edu

Why?

It's not so much the crystallography that Rosalind Franklin did (which is magnificent), but rather the simple beauty of life. DNA is the building block of life and has such an elegant form. That's why that photo of the crystalline structure will always be my favorite.—Clint Holderby

Dagmar Eileen Bonet’s favorite structure is:

Hexagonal
Rosette (flower like)

image

Source: rockpow.com/archive2.htm

Why?

Its bundled tabular form appear like rose flower petals, or a geometrical shape. Both its appearance, and the ability to self assemble, and self grow its crystals reminds me much of an actual plant that provides for itself to develop. It's also considered to be rare due to being one of the few carbobarates mankind knows about.The ranges in its appearance can also be from a milky white to colorless slightly see through appearance, which in a way made me think of white roses. I also remember in grade school working with these during a science lesson, and remembered the sparky particles all over them which I felt were very pretty. —Dagmar Eileen Bonet

mario alberto’s favorite structure is:

Crystal structure of potassium permanganate

image

Source:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potassium_permanganate

Why?

because it is very similar to the structure of carbon in its pyramidal shape. With perfect symmetry showing elegance and interactions with water oxygens show how powerful can be with their reactions. I phasine—mario alberto

Dave Boruta’s favorite structure is:

Rh2(TPA)SPTTL3

image

Source: David Boruta Dissertation & Chemical Science

Why?

I was intimately tied to this crystal structure for nearly 5 years of my life.  This crystal structure and the insights it provided into chiral secondary structure resulted in a high impact publication and my doctoral dissertation.  It has also led to an NIH grant for future work for other members of the research group I graduated from.  —Dave Boruta

Alex J. Vecchio’s favorite structure is:

PDB ID: 3MDL – Crystal structure of COX-2 bound to an endocannabinoid

Source: The Journal of Biological Chemistry

Why?

My favorite crystal structure is the first one I solved as a graduate student. I recall the humbling feeling I had as I realized that I was the first human being to observe the binding of this important neuromodulating substrate bound in the active site of COX-2. I then remember feeling confused, as I compared this binding conformation to the binding of other COX-2 substrates, and thinking I made a mistake somehow when I noticed the active site molded around the substrate instead of vice versa, as the comparative substrates seemed to do. After several years more of work I verified the structure through biochemical analyses. Such are the (rewarding) adventures of a graduate student in crystallography.—Alex J. Vecchio

Sophia Lai’s favorite structure is:

Bismuth hopper crystals

image

Source: Top: DeviantArt, Bottom: My own

Why?

I made these crystals my junior year in high school and I still have them. I take them out every so often just to marvel at how straight the edges of the intricate square spiral pattern are. If you hold them to the light at different angles, you can see the colors change— a phenomenon known as iridescence. The colors are actually caused by the oxide or tarnish on the surface of the bismuth, which otherwise is a silver metal. Because the thickness of the oxide layer varies, the color varies due to interference between reflected light of different wavelengths. Bismuth forms hopper crystals when re-melted, which are the square spirals you see here. Besides being beautiful, bismuth is a special element with niche uses (medicinal, catalysis, etc). It is the most diamagnetic naturally occurring metal and similar to water, it is denser as a liquid than solid. Because of its strong diamagnetism, you can levitate magnets over a bismuth plate!—Sophia Lai

v k reddy maddireddy’s favorite structure is:

CsCl

image

Source: wikipedia

Why?

Its crystal structure forms a major structural type where each caesium ion is coordinated by 8 chlorine ions. Caesium chloride crystals are thermally stable, but easily dissolve in water and concentrated hydrochloric acid, and therefore gradually disintegrate in the ambient conditions due to moisture. Caesium chloride is widely used in isopycnic centrifugation for separating various types of DNA. It is a reagent in analytical chemistry, where it is used to identify ions by the color and morphology of the precipitate. When enriched in radioisotopes, such as 137CsCl or 131CsCl, caesium chloride is used in nuclear medicine applications such as treatment of cancer and diagnosis of myocardial n mineralogy and crystallography, a crystal structure is a unique arrangement of atoms or molecules in a crystalline liquid or solid.[1] A crystal structure describes a highly ordered structure, occurring due to the intrinsic nature of molecules to form symmetric patterns.—v k reddy maddireddy

Mitchel Ruigrok’s favorite structure is:

Human Apolipoprotein A-I

image

Source: RCSB Protein Databank
(http://www.rcsb.org/pdb/images/1av1_bio_r_500.jpg)

Why?

Human Apolipoprotein A-I has my favourite structure due to its unique shape: it has a Möbius-like shape. Of course, it is not an actual Möbius entity, but it looks quite interesting. In addition, Apolipoprotein A-I has an important function in the homeostasis of the human body. The protein promotes removal of cholesterol from the body by excreting it through the liver. In conclusion, the protein is interesting due to its unique shape (in comparison to many transmembrane proteins which all sort of look similar one way or the other) and due to its significance in promoting health in humans. Thank you! :)—Mitchel Ruigrok

John Spevacek’s favorite structure is:

Polyethylene
Single Crystals

image

Source: Philosophical Magazine Volume 2, Issue 21, 1957

Why?

XRD shows that the chains this image are oriented upright, yet he shadows of these crystals showed they are thin, much thinner than the length of the polymers that make them. The only possible conclusion: the chain are folded back and forth and are not extended like "spaghetti in a box". A revolutionary thought back in 1957 that completely changed our understanding of polymer crystallization.—John Spevacek

Hila Hakak’s favorite structure is:

Hexagonal Rossete (flower-like)

image

Source: JACS

Why?

I am a chemist M.Sc student and once I read an article about a special nano Magnesium compund with a hexagonal Rosette crystal structure that was so beautiful. but the most important thing about it is was the ability to atract rare earth elements from waste water. so it was pretty + it had an important recycling roll—Hila Hakak