Beyond crystals: the dialectic of materials and information

Wed, 2014-11-19 12:17 -- Bailey Fallon

Editors: Julyan H. E. Cartwright and Alan L. Mackay

How does biology build materials that we can't, like wood, nacre (mother of pearl), or silk? And can we learn to make them? Understanding biological materials implies understanding the link between structure and information; information that in a biological system is contained in its genes. Mankind is little by little understanding the structure of materials. Crystals, with their geometric facets, proved to be the way into comprehending how atoms are arranged in space; Kepler 400 years ago compared crystal structure to the ordering of the pips in a pomegranate. As the discovery of quasicrystals -less regularly ordered crystals- has just led to a Nobel prize, now is a good moment to look to where crystallography is heading. We argue that we need to think beyond crystals to understand how nature makes complex materials that we see and use everyday, but that we cannot yet make.

Read

Read all articles from this issue online

Read the Introduction to this issue FREE

The issue, a Festschrift for the 85th birthday of Alan Mackay (a pioneer of the crystallographic field), also includes a paper co-authored by10-year-old Linus Hovmöller Zou [FREE until the end of June].

Don't have access?

- If you would like to recommend this journal to your Librarian please fill out this form or contact sales@royalsociety.org

Buy

This issue is now available to buy in print.

Also of interest

See all Royal Society Publishing content in the areas of crystallography, materials science, and physical chemistry.

Previous issues in this area

Why not submit an article to our sister journal Proceedings A?

Proceedings AProceedings A has an illustrious history of publishing pioneering and influential research articles across the entire range of the physical and mathematical sciences. These have included Maxwell's electromagnetic theory, the Braggs' first account of X-ray crystallography, Dirac's relativistic theory of the electron, and Watson and Crick's detailed description of the structure of DNA

Submit a theme proposal to Philosophical Transactions A

Philosophical Transactions A publishes Theme Issues, as well as issues based on Royal Society Discussion Meetings. We will consider proposals for theme issues on subjects across the whole of the physical sciences

First, theme proposers should download and complete our Theme Proposal Form. Once complete, this form should be submitted online to our proposal submissions system: http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/ptrsa

Please note that all the proposed authors must have agreed to contribute before we can consider a Theme proposal. Once a proposal has been approved, the Theme Organisers will usually contact the contributors to communicate to them a submission deadline agreed with the Editorial Office.

Theme organisers may wish to consider our Theme Issue guidelines for suggestions on how a Theme Issue should be constructed.