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No 34, June 1997

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Once again it is time for a new President to assume the duties of office. The first of these is to write a column for the Newsletter. Judging by the recent meeting of the Society in Queenstown, New Zealand, the crystallographic community in Australasia is in a very healthy state. It was an outstanding meeting and congratulations are due to Ward Robinson and his fellow organisers. The setting was simply spectacular as one could have seen before the meeting from the wonderful scene of the lake and mountains on the conference web page. The mountains make for interesting arrivals and departures from Queenstown airport especially in windy weather!

The scientific content of the meeting (reviewed by our student attendees elsewhere) was of an unusually high standard with a mix of crystallography one rarely sees in these days of specialist meetings and multiple parallel sessions. The relentless growth of protein crystallography in the region was heralded by the opening talk from Gerard Kleywegt who together with his Swedish colleague Alwyn Jones has set out to inflict some of the accepted standards of small molecule crystallography onto the world of protein structure. The most notable event of the meeting was the session devoted to the memory of the late Ted Maslen. His contributions to crystallography and Australian science were presented by his former colleagues and students. Mark Spackman, the recently retired secretary of the Society, gave an outstanding summary of Ted’s scientific work. The membership of the SCA unanimously accepted a recommendation from the Council that the student awards to attend crystallographic meetings will henceforth be known as "E.N. (Ted) Maslen 1987 Studentships and Scholarships" to honour Ted’s commitment to teaching and students and his role in chairing the organising committee of the very successful 1987 IUCr congress held in Perth.

The business meeting of the Society produced no surprises with the nominated candidates accepting office unopposed. It was especially pleasing to see Max Taylor accept the position of Vice-President (the next President). I look forward to support from the new Secretary and Treasurer, the people who actually do the work. It was resolved that the AsCA meeting to be held in Malaysia in 1998 would be the next meeting of the SCA and would constitute a business meeting of the Society. The following meeting of the Society will be held in Glasgow with the IUCr in 1999 and in 2000 the SCA meeting will be held either in Canberra or Brisbane. John White briefed the meeting on the progress of the Australian Synchrotron Research Programme (ASRP) which involves many members of the SCA on its various committees. The ASRP now looks after the Australian National Beamline Facility at Tsukuba in Japan and arrangements with three Cooperative Access Teams at the new third generation 7 GeV synchrotron at the APS in Chicago.

I look forward to receiving the wise counsel and advice from the Past President, Chris Howard, who remains on the council of the Society.

Mitch Guss




The AsCA executive elected at the Council meeting in Seattle is: President: Professor Ze Zhang (China), Vice President: Dr Christopher Howard (Australia), Secretary/ Treasurer: Dr Krishan Lal (India). AsCA’98 will be held at the Hotel Equatorial Bangi, Malaysia from October 13-15, 1998. The International Organizing Committee consists of: Shih-Lin Chang (Taiwan, Chair), Su Jin Chung (Korea), Lu-Hua Lai (China), Krishan Lal (India), Hamid Othman (Malaysia), Jim Simpson (NZ), Mark Spackman (Australia), and Hideo Toraya (Japan), with a Local Organizing Committee chaired by Hamid Othman. An e-mail list is being setup and further information is available on the AsCA’98 website http://gandalf.otago. ac.nz:800/rweavers/ASCA/asca98.htm.



The Society of Crystallographers in Australia now has its own website at . This contains information on conferences, the Society’s Constitution, membership application, and past and current Newsletters including all the Sketches of Crystallographic Laboratories that have been included in recent issues. There are also links to other sites of crystallographic interest including FASTS, IUCr, ACA, the Photon Factory, and Crystallography World Wide. Of particular interest is the link to Educational Material which contains information suitable for lectures and courses.


Queenstown, 1997

With this my final report as the Treasurer of the Society of Crystallographers in Australia and the first report since the Ballarat meeting of April 1995, I can report a continuing maintenance of the basic capital with a small profit, but offset by a heavy commitment towards support for our student members in this period. This was pre-empted in my previous report, with Scholarships to six students to attend the AsCA-95 conference in Bangkok in November 1995 ($5185: no IUCr-87 support), and six to attend the IUCr Congress and National Assembly in Seattle in August 1996 ($10,200: with $5000 from the IUCr-87 fund). A total of ten Student Scholarships have been given for the Crystal XX meeting in Queenstown, which will be totally funded by IUCr-87 monies.

The SCA funds were boosted by a healthy profit of $6200.65 from the Crystal XIX meeting in Ballarat which was generously supported by sponsors as well as the IUCr-87 fund. Student support, amounting to $3050 for 15 students ( $2750 previously paid at the conference from SCA funds), was covered by IUCr-87 ($2000) and the remainder from corporate sponsorship.

Investment has been maintained conservatively in variable-period cashable deposits for an average return of ca. 6%, with the current assets totalling $59,850.92 as of 22.3.97.

Sums of $500 (1995-1996) and $900 (1996-1997) have been provided for the current Editorial Secretary for production and distribution of SCA Newsletter, while a final discharge amount of $92.64 was provided for the past Secretary for the same purpose. Annual subscriptions of $240 and $578.10 were also made to The Asian Crystallographic Association and FASTS respectively.

The deposit of NZ$2000 (A$1814.24) was paid to the Organizing Committee of CRYSTAL XX to support the administration of this conference.

The SCA also took upon itself the responsibility for the purchase and distribution of the 1995 World Directory of Crystallographers but unfortunately, not all of those who originally requested copies subsequently responded when I sent a general e-mail message to members. I still have 20 copies which I would be glad to trade. Anyone (within Australia) who would like a copy should let me know and I will gladly mail one.

A final audit of the SCA accounts for the period in which I have been the Treasurer will be made before passing over these accounts to the incoming Treasurer.

Location of Funds:

Most of the SCA funds are still deposited in the UNICREDIT account No. 3248, either as a WORKING ACCESS ACCOUNT (S1) or as VARIABLE-PERIOD CASHABLE DEPOSITS, as shown below. All attract 5% interest or better.



Working Account (as of 22.3.97)




28 May 1997









10 August 1997

7 July 1997

18 June 1997

28 Sept 1997

10 Oct 1997














24 Oct 1997

21 May 1997







25 June 1997



Unicredit Total

Australian Guarantee Corp. (12 month debenture: 7.5%)





1 This amount will be reduced by $6100 when the cheques for CRYSTAL XX are cleared, but will be reimbursed subsequently by money promised by the IUCr-87 fund.

Graham Smith





1996 - April 97



IUCr-87: Seattle

World Directories

Crystal XIX: Return
















1995 - 1996

1996 - April 97



FASTS Membership

World Directories

AsCA Membership

State Gov. Tax

Newsletter Costs



Flinders Discharge

Crystal XX Deposit






























1 AsCA-95 Scholarships


2 IUCr Scholarships


1.E. Gilbert

$ 1000

1. E. Gilbert


2. A. Green

$ 1000

2. A. Duff


3. D. Slizys

$ 1000

3. B. Etschmann


4. B. Etschmann

$ 850

4. B. Gan


5. R. Hsu

$ 850

5. A. Oakley


6. M. Bewley

$ 485

6. L. Semenova






3 A wreath was sent on the death of Ted Maslen, for which the SCA contributed $100.

4 A total of $6100 was made available by the SCA for Student Scholarships to attend CRYSTAL XX at Queenstown.

1. E. Gilbert


2. S. Egan


3. D. Slizys


4. B. Ali


5. G. Kirton


6. C. Ling


7. N. O'Toole


8. J. Barbosa


9. T. Vaalsta


10. D. Du Boulay






This amount has been promised by the IUCr-87 fund so that there should be no cost to the SCA overall.

5 CRYSTAL XIX. A complete financial statement for this meeting is available, which includes income ($22357.85) [Registrations: $8000; IUCr-87 contribution: $4500; Sponsors: $6750; Interest: $357.85; cheques to student attendees paid at the Ballarat conference: $2750], against expenditure ($12642.40), giving a returned amount of $8950.65. This amount is reduced by the amount of the SCA cheques to Student attendees ($2750). The profit for the conference therefore was $6200.65.

6 A supporting loan of NZ $2000 (A$1814.24) was paid to the CRYSTAL XX Organizing Committee, and should be reimbursed when accounts are finalised.


Student reports from the Queenstown meeting.


Queenstown - nice choice of venue, other than the timing. It is a painful season in which one can see snow yet not ski upon it. Remarkably though, Crystal XX was no worse off for the lack of alpine sports in the programme. We were all thoroughly absorbed for the duration.

The lack of parallel sessions was a principal reason, providing variety and obliging us to learn something about areas of crystallography which we might otherwise remain oblivious to. Cross-fertilisation of ideas can only be a good thing in science. The keynote speakers, in particular, were very successful in conveying ideas on a level accessible to all.

Those of us (Chris and Gavin) attending a conference for the first time were interested to meet members of the local crystallography scene whose names we had heard mentioned, and with whom we had exchanged the occasional e-mail, over the course of our studies. Hopefully this contact will lead to some collaboration during the remainder of those studies. Hopefully you will give us jobs one day. The local presence was enhanced by an impressive number of foreign visitors, and the small and friendly nature of the conference afforded opportunities to meet such eminent scientists rather than just admire them from a distance.

The conference was topped off by an excellent dinner, the venue for which was inspired. Those who attended were treated to wonderful views, delicious and copious food, the story of Ward Robinson cheating death and the dulcet tones of Elliot and Ray Withers discussing matters purely scientific (occasionally in song) drifting clearly across the room.

All these features combined to make Crystal XX a very worthwhile excursion in terms of scientific education, inspiration for breaking through deadlocks in PhD projects, and intimations of the world beyond submission. Sincere thanks to the SCA for providing the crucial funds for our attendance; we will be better scientists for it.

Chris Ling, Elliot Gilbert, Gavin Kirton

Australian National University


It was a good experience for me to attend the Crystal XX meeting in Queenstown, New Zealand. Queenstown is a place of incredible beauty and one of the most scenic and interesting places I have ever seen in my life. It was a very good experience for me to meet fellow crystallographers from Australia and New Zealand, especially since I am from Jordan and I am not really a crystallographer. My work is related to crystal packing analysis of crystal structures.

The conference contained a good mixture and variety of topics, that are up to date and vital. Despite the fact that it was compressed, the sessions were interesting and good enough for all the activities to be enjoyable. The meeting opened and closed with macromolecular sessions. These contained fine plenary lectures and good short oral representations, in particular those on drug designs. I enjoyed these sessions very much, even it is not my speciality, since it contained fascinating material. The other sessions were just as fine and enjoyable. The special session dedicated for Ted Maslen was wonderful, and illustrated the prominent role he played for 37 years of his life.

The poster session with over 100 representations started at 8.15 pm with a lot of expectations of different questions about the represented work. The socialising activities were excellent, despite the fact that I did not know many of the delegates . I would like to congratulate all the organizing committee for all the hard work they did to make it possible for this conference to appear as great as it did.

Basem Ali

University of NSW



Past President’s Report

The past two years have seen interesting developments in Australian crystallography, and the Society remains in a healthy state as regards membership, finances and scientific activity.

Australian crystallography was well represented at both AsCA’95 in Bangkok in November 1995, and at the XVIIth Congress of the International Union of Crystallography held in Seattle in August 1996. Society funds, including 1987 Funds, were used to support the attendance of SCA student members to these meetings.

The major activity of the SCA is the conduct of regular scientific meetings. Crystal XX, being held at this magnificent location, in good weather, proved to be yet another most informative and enjoyable meeting. The attendance, I am told, was 96, comprising 27 from New Zealand, 54 from Australia and 15 from other countries. The attendance of the current and immediate past presidents of the IUCr is noted with pleasure. We owe the success of this meeting to the efforts of the small New Zealand organizing committee, Ward Robinson, Jan Wikaira, Jim Simpson and Geoff Jameson, ably assisted by Ian Grey in Melbourne. We thank them most sincerely.

The Society has continued to produce its Newsletter under the guiding hand of the Editor Brian Skelton. The series of sketches of crystallography laboratories initiated by my predecessor Ian Grey has been continued, and I hope that more sketches will be forthcoming for inclusion in future issues. In Seattle the SCA Council decided the Society should establish a page on the World Wide Web. Brian Skelton has undertaken to maintain this page. The development of the page has been greatly assisted by Lachlan Cranswick, and it is now possible for members to access that page. I thank both Brian and Lachlan for their important contributions.

An item of good news was the award of a share of the 1995 Australia Prize in the field of "pharmaceutical design" to SCA member and former president Peter Colman for his work on "The rational design of new anti-influenza drugs". Peter is to be congratulated on this outstanding achievement.

We were saddened to learn of the sudden death, on February 2, of Ted Maslen FAA. We paid tribute to Ted during the meeting in an interesting and at times moving session, and I can only endorse the remarks made by his friends and colleagues then. Less well known at SCA meetings, but a member and a close colleague of mine, Lindsay Davis, passed away on June 20 1995, after a long battle against illness.

There will of course be changes to Council at this meeting. Graham Smith will be stepping down after serving as Treasurer since November 1992. Mark Spackman, who took over the position of Secretary at the beginning of 1995, has been a most effective Secretary throughout my term as President. He is relinquishing the position at this meeting. I thank all the members of Council for their help and advice over the past two years, and especially those leaving Council at this time.

Chris Howard

1987 Fund

An audit of the 1987 Fund will be performed on June 30, but from inspection of files the status appears to be:

(Assets at 30/6/96: $156,366)

At present:


Macquarie Cash Management



Shares portfolio

Assets at Mar.97



It was the intention of Council in future to append a statement on the 1987 Fund to the Treasurer’s Report.

Date and Venue for Crystal XXI Meeting:

There was discussion on the idea (suggested by Ted Maslen at Seattle) that AsCA’98 would incorporate a SCA Business Meeting, which would imply that the next Crystal meeting would be in April 2000, possibly in Brisbane or Canberra.

Society of Crystallographers in Australia

Office Bearers


J.M. Guss (Univ of Syd, NSW); e-mail: m.guss@biochem.usyd.edu.au.; Ph: (02) 9351-4302., fax: (02) 9351-4726


M.R. Taylor (Flinders University, SA); e-mail: max.taylor@flinders.edu.au; Ph: (09) 8201-2467, fax: (09) 8201-3035


T.W. Hambley ( Univ of Sydney, NSW); e-mail: T.Hambley@chem.usyd.edu.au; Ph: (02) 9351-2830, fax: (02) 9351-3329


B.W. Skelton (UWA, WA); e-mail: bws@crystal.uwa.edu.au; Ph: (08) 9380-3481, fax: (08) 9380-1118


J. Martin (Univ of Queensland, Qld); e-mail: j.martin@mailbox.uq.oz.au; Ph: (07) 3365-4942, fax: (07) 3365-1990

A. Pring (South Australian Museum, SA); e-mail apring@geology.adelaide.edu.au; Ph: (08) 8207-7449, fax (08) 8207-7222

T.R. Welberry (Australian National Univ., ACT); e-mail: welberry@rsc.anu.edu.au; Ph: (06) 249-4122, fax: (06) 249-0750

Past President:

C.J. Howard (ANSTO, NSW); e-mail: cjh@ansto.gov.au,Ph: (02) 9717-3609, fax: (02) 9717-3606

ANNCCr Representative: ex officio;

J.W. White (Australian National Univ., ACT); e-mail: jww@rsc.anu.edu.au, Ph: (06) 249-3578, fax: (06) 249-4903,

Nominations Standing Committee

B.M.K. Gatehouse (Monash Univ., Vic), S.R. Hall (Univ of Western Australia, WA), S.W. Wilkins (CSIRO Material Science, Vic)

Newsletter Editor:

B.W. Skelton (UWA, WA); e-mail: bws@crystal.uwa.edu.au; Ph: (08) 9380-3481, fax: (08) 9380-1118