Geoffrey Price’s favorite structure is:

Zeolite Beta



My favorite crystal is zeolite beta, an intergrowth of two polymorphs, which I am holding in the picture. You can think of beta somewhat like taking these two models, shaving them into layers, and shuffling them like a deck of cards. I originally saw the structure of beta in 1985 in the Mobil Princeton labs where I had taken a consulting job working in Roland vonBallmoos’ group. The structure fascinated me because one of the polymorphs contains a spiral pore. Could it be grown in enantiomeric forms? Could it be used to separate enantiomers of organic compounds? But in my exit interview, I was told specifically that the structure of beta was one the top secrets of the company. Nothing could be said about it. Scroll forward 4 years to 1989 at Exxon Clinton labs. I was again a consultant and was in the office of John Newsam. Sitting on his desk was model of a zeolite. I picked it up to examine it, and because of the spiral pore, I recognized it as zeolite beta. 30 years later, I am still fascinated enough to build a digital model of the structure and have the two polymorphs printed.—Geoffrey Price

cory reidl’s favorite structure is:



I think DapE, a homodimer diZn metaloprotease that can modulate its catalytic activity by substituting one of its metals with Co, Mn or Mg, is an awesome crystal structure because it has been found it has been found to be a target for drug targeting and it can act as a programmable protease.—cory reidl

David Blake’s favorite structure is:

First pXRD pattern from Mars


Source: NASA/JPL-CalTech/Ames


The Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity has been operating on Mars since Aug. 6, 2012. Curiosity carried with it the first spaceflight-qualified X-ray Diffractometer, a breadbbox-sized XRD called CheMin. CheMin returned the first XRD pattern from another planet in 2012, nearly coincident with the centennial of the discovery of X-ray diffraction by von Laue in 1912. The transmission-geometry 2D pattern, in the same geometry as those obtained by von Laue, provided the first quantitative mineralogy of the Mars surface (D.L. Bish et al., Science 341, 1238932 (2013)). A second CheMin analysis identified an ancient habitable environment on Mars (D.T. Vaniman et al., Science 343, 1243480 (2014)—David Blake

Maxwell Chung’s favorite structure is:



Because the diamond is expensive. It's all about the money. That's what life teaches you. But it also teaches you the simplistic beauty which is apparent in all the amazing creatures and things in the world that surround us. Chemistry has taught me to become a better person and a better man. I am grateful for Chemistry and the ACS and specifically C&EN for allowing me to tell others about my feelings.—Maxwell Chung

James Bellows’s favorite structure is:


Source: Acta Crystallographica Section B: Structural Crystallography and Crystal Chemistry 34(11) 3256 (1978)


Because it was determined by Raman spectroscopy.  We had 1,4-dichloro- and 1,4-dibromonaphthalene structures.  It has the 1,4-dichloronaphthalene structure with broadening, indicating that the bromines and chlorines are randomly arranged.—James Bellows

sudhir mittapalli’s favorite structure is:

NaCl crystal structure


Source: Wikipedia


The first atomic-resolution structure to be "solved" (i.e., determined) in 1914 was that of table salt. After Von Laue's pioneering research, the crystallography field developed rapidly, most notably by physicists William Lawrence Bragg and his father William Henry Bragg. In 1912–1913, the younger Bragg developed Bragg's law, which connects the observed scattering with reflections from evenly spaced planes within the crystal.The Braggs, father and son, shared the 1915 Nobel Prize in Physics for their work in crystallography.—sudhir mittapalli

Kerry Fowler’s favorite structure is:



Source: PDB:3TMI Image generated with PyMol


Until my current job I had worked primarily in cancer drug discovery and knew virtually nothing about the innate immune system.  This amazing first-line defense to infection includes the RNA detector RIG-I which grabs onto the invader's double helix. —Kerry Fowler

Robert Dyer’s favorite structure is:

Tartaric Acid

Tartaric Acid

Source: Dalton Trans., 2014, 43, 95-102


Enatiopurity in both research and industry is extremely important due to the potential adverse effects of enantiomers. Promising drugs like Thalomid have been completely reevaluated based on the adverse effects of the drug’s enantiomer illustrating the importance of ensuring enatiopurity in the synthesis of compounds. Using crystallization, Louis Pasteur was the first scientist to separate the enantiomers of tartaric acid by physically sorting the different crystals into D and L tartaric acid. Louis Pasteur's work helped to identify that the different crystals originated from the molecular asymmetry of the molecule, helping to discover the basis of chemical chirality.—Robert Dyer