As you may have picked up from my Twitter feed and my most recent post, I’m giving lectures on X-ray diffraction this semester. In preparing them, and thinking about crystallography in general, I have thought back to when I was taught the subject at UCL around 1976-77.
We were taught crystallography by Judith Milledge, herself a former student of Kathleen Lonsdale, who in turn did her PhD with W H Bragg (the older Bragg). Judith was assisted by Monica Mendelssohn, and I remember that both Judith and Monica were very helpful to us, in spite of our probable lack of appreciation of their subject!
In 1978 I graduated and started my PhD with Stuart Walmsley on lattice dynamics of molecular crystals, and in that year the UCL Crystallography Unit transferred from the Chemistry to the Geology Department. They didn’t have to physically ‘move’, because by then Geology were occupying parts of what is now called the Kathleen Lonsdale Building, where they were located. The reason for the move may have had something to do with actions of the then head of department, Max McGlashan, but I have no official evidence of that!
So, in a few weeks’ time, when I give my lectures, I will try to be inspired by the thought that I was taught crystallography by Sir William Bragg’s scientific granddaughter!