Crystallography Quotes (5 quotes)
As Crystallography was born of a chance observation by Haόy of the cleavage-planes of a single fortunately fragile specimen, so out of the slender study of the Norwich Spiral has sprung the vast and interminable Calculus of Cyclodes, which strikes such far-spreading and tenacious roots into the profoundest strata of denumeration, and, by this and the multitudinous and multifarious dependent theories which cluster around it, reminds one of the Scriptural comparison of the Kingdom of Heaven to a grain of mustard-seed which a man took and cast into his garden, and it grew and waxed a great tree, and the fowls of the air lodged in the branches of it.
Crystallographic science does not consist in the scrupulous description of all the accidents of crystalline form, but in specifying, by the description of these forms, the more or less close relationship they have with each other.
I heard xenon was a good anesthesia. I thought, How can xenon, which doesnt form any chemical compounds, serve as a general anesthetic? I lay awake at night for a few minutes before going to sleep, and during the next couple of weeks each night I would think, how do anesthetic agents work?" Then I forgot to do it after a while, but Id trained my unconscious mind to keep this question alive and to call [it] to my consciousness whenever a new idea turned up . So seven years went by. [One day I] put my feet up on the desk and started reading my mail, and here was a letter from George Jeffrey an x-ray crystallographer, on his determination of the structure of a hydrate crystal. Immediately I sat up, took my feet off the desk, and said, I understand anesthesia! I spent a year [and] determined the structure of chloroform hydrate, and then I wrote my paper published in June of 1961.
I think she [Rosalind Franklin] was a good experimentalist but certainly not of the first rank. She was simply not in the same class as Eigen or Bragg or Pauling, nor was she as good as Dorothy Hodgkin. She did not even select DNA to study. It was given to her. Her theoretical crystallography was very average.
In my own field, x-ray crystallography, we used to work out the structure of minerals by various dodges which we never bothered to write down, we just used them. Then Linus Pauling came along to the laboratory, saw what we were doing and wrote out what we now call Pauling's Rules. We had all been using Pauling's Rules for about three or four years before Pauling told us what the rules were.