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

Nichole Wonderling’s favorite structure is:

Perovskite – PZT

image

Source: Structure generated by Jade2010 from
Materials Data, Inc. using ICDD ref 04-002-9085 (LPF 383176)

Why?

The perovskite structure of lead zirconate titanate, (Pb[Zr(x)Ti(1-x)]O3), known as PZT, is my favorite crystal structure.  Developed around 1952 at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, it is one of the world’s most widely used piezoelectric ceramic materials and touches our lives in the form of ultrasound transducers, sensors and actuators, and capacitors on a daily basis.  As the subject of interest for a plethora of research in our laboratory, PZT holds a special place in the hearts and minds of the faculty, staff and students of the Materials Research Institute at The Pennsylvania State University. —Nichole Wonderling

Minos Matsoukas’s favorite structure is:

beta2 adrenegic receptor in complex with Gs (3sn6)

image

Source: http://www.pdb.org/ (pymol rendered)

Why?

I've been working on GPCR structure and function for the past 10 years. The advances made the past years (including the nobel prize) has motivated me even more to study how these membrane receptors function.—Minos Matsoukas

David Wang’s favorite structure is:

bis(octaethylporphyrin)zirconium (IV)

image

Source: ACS Journal of Inorganic Chemistry

Why?

I am currently a high school student intent on pursuing a career in organometallics. One of the main reasons why I love this field is the limitless amount of possibilities – from complex clusters to novel catalysts, there are seemingly no bounds on the structures of the product. In this regard, bis(octaethylporphyrin)zirconium(IV) is exemplary of why I find this subject so intriguing, especially how its outlandish crystal structure can be synthesized
in a relatively standard manner.—David Wang

Eris Walsh’s favorite structure is:

DNA double helix

image

Source:
http://www.nature.com/scitable/topicpage/discovery-of-dna-structure-and-function-watson-397

Why?

The structure of DNA is not only beautiful to look at, but our ability to understand DNA has been instrumental in everything from medical breakthroughs, to solving crimes, to understanding what we are as lifeforms, and how we relate to other life around us. Without our understanding of the structure of the double helix, many of us wouldn't have jobs today!—Eris Walsh

Bradley D. Proffit’s favorite structure is:

Icosahedral Quasicrystals

image

Source: ammin.geoscienceworld.org

Why?

Quasicrystals like these have long-range order but not translational symmetry, and in that way — to me — each tiny grain of every crystal reflects the entire universe. By showing that chance, coincidence, and beauty can all culminate between chemistry, optics, and even theoretical physics in one single crystal, I'm reminded of the oneness scientific pursuits give us in life. That's why we're here! Between a tiny crystal and the entire universe, the same principles are naked to our curious minds… that's why icosahedral quasicrystals are my favorite X-ray crystal structure.—Bradley D. Proffit

Allyson Fry’s favorite structure is:

K3MoO3F3

image

Source: Personal

Why?

This is my favorite crystal structure because the material family had been studied for almost a century, however the structure (cubic perovskite) was not consistent with the properties (ferroelectric response) and I had the opportunity to solve the structure for my PhD. We found that it had a massive unit cell and it added to a growing number of non-cooperative octahedral tilted perovskites. In a nut shell it is my favorite because I feel like I got to see a glimpse into K3MoO3F3 before anyone else.—Allyson Fry

Juan Carlos Munoz’s favorite structure is:

Lonsdaleite

image

Source: webmineral.com

Why?

Lonsdaleite, also called hexagonal diamond in reference to the crystal structure, is an allotrope of carbon with a hexagonal lattice. In nature, it forms when meteorites containing graphite strike the Earth. The great heat and stress of the impact transforms the graphite into diamond, but retains graphite's hexagonal crystal lattice. Lonsdaleite was first identified in 1967 from the Canyon Diablo meteorite, where it occurs as microscopic crystals associated with diamond. Its hardness is theoretically superior to that of cubic diamond.

Sometimes I said to my students that: It is stronger than the strongest.—Juan Carlos Munoz

Dr. Brandon J. Burnett’s favorite structure is:

Nd2Fe14B

image

Source: iopscience

Why?

The P42/mmm space group contains opposing layers of simple ordered sheets of neodynium, iron, and boron, and chaotic hexagonal iron nets. The contrast between these two layers (simple vs chaotic) makes the crystal structure very beautiful in my eyes. Additionally, it is very fun to find the order within the
chaotic hexagonal iron nets. It takes a while to find all of the order in what. seems like utter randomness.—Dr. Brandon J. Burnett

Guido Raos’s favorite structure is:

isotactic polypropylene

image

Source: Nuovo Cimento, 1960

Why?

This structure — solved by Paolo Corradini, working in Giulio Natta's laboratory in the 1950's — provided a compelling proof of the possibility of "breaking Nature's monopoly" in the synthesis of stereoregular polymers. The polymer chains adopt a helical conformation, in a striking analogy with DNA and alpha-helical proteins (whose structures had been worked out shortly before by Watson&Crick and by Pauling&Corey).—Guido Raos

Diana Tomchick’s favorite structure is:

PDB ID 1PRC, the photosynthetic reaction center from Rhodopseudomonas viridian

Photosynthetic-rxn-center

Source: DOI: 10.1006/jmbi.1994.0097

Why?

The first atomic resolution structure of an integral membrane protein was a tour de force of protein purification, crystallization and phasing. The resultant structure taught us a huge amount that was generalizable to other integral membrane proteins and about the interaction of proteins with the lipid bilayer. This particular PDB deposition represents the refined coordinates to 2.3 Angstroms resolution, and thus the authors were able to locate associated lipids and solvent molecules in addition to determining the positions of the cofactors and protein side chains.—Diana Tomchick

David Cordes’s favorite structure is:

Copper(I)
tetrakis(4-cyanophenyl)methane tetrafluoroborate

image

Source: JACS 1989, 111, 5962-5964 (pic on p5963)

Why?

The first example of deliberate design of a crystalline coordination polymeric material. The components were chosen for specific geometric preferences, and the resulting structure showed one of the two predicted possible coordination networks.—David Cordes

Prabhakar Ramabhilash Sharma’s favorite structure is:

Aromatic ring – benzene, naphthalene, heterocyclic compounds,

image

Source:
https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/vw3d/vw3d.cgi?cmd=crtvw&reqid=4154098881471962712

Why?

Aromaticity problem, actual structure present in the different organic molecules confirmed, presence, occurrence, state, nature, form, size of the molecule can be predicted and established as a fingerprint for the compound with aromatic ring.   —Prabhakar Ramabhilash Sharma

Andrea Wong’s favorite structure is:

Au102(pMBA)44

image

Source: Science, 2007, vol318, 430

Why?

The structure of Au102(pMBA)44 is the first large thiolate-protected gold cluster to be solved.  The structure of this molecule reveal an important common staple motif which are also found in many other gold nanoclusters. With none of the fragments being innately enantiomeric, the assembly of the gold atoms and the ligands forms two enantiomers. —Andrea Wong

Dr. William B. Wise’s favorite structure is:

molybdenyl acetyacetonate

Source: CAS # 17524-65-9

Why?

This was the first molecule whose crystal structure I determined. It was interesting because the molecule was assymetric and had four molecules in the unit cell. The central molybdenyl group has the oxygen atoms in a cis configuration rather than trans as might be anticipated.—Dr. William B. Wise

Jane F Griffin’s favorite structure is:

DNA

Source: Rosalind Franklin in C&EN

Why?

With very little data from a purloined photo of Rosalind Franklin, Watson and Crick solved the basic structure of DNA and changed the way we think of 'life' forever. The breaking and forming of hydrogen bonds is how we procreate- and it is just chemistry which has taken billions of years to get to life today.—Jane F Griffin

Lei Yang’s favorite structure is:

Ferrocene

ferrocene

Source:
http://syntekglobalxtremefueltreatment1.wordpress.com/2012/12/23/xtreme-fuel-treatment-effects-of-ferrocene-as-a-gasoline-additive/xftferrocenemolecule/

Why?

The fantastic structure has a beautiful symmetry, which has been used to teach group theory in my class. And I love the process how people eventually solve the puzzle about the structure. X-ray crystallography rocks!—Lei Yang

Geetha Bolla’s favorite structure is:

Celecoxib cocrystals with syn amides

image

Why?

Trimorphic cocrystals of Celecoxib with Valerolactam reported in this study. Even ring size lactam coformer attributed Dimer-Catemer, Dimer-Dimer Synthons where as odd ones resulted hetero synthon. Synthons between the sulphonamide and lactams are explained as even–odd ring size. The present study on sulfonamide−lactams provides a starting point for synthon based crystal engineering of sulfonamide drugs. Single crystal X-ray structures of celecoxib cocrystals are reported for the first time with GRAS lactams—Geetha Bolla