Dazzling History

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Science  07 Mar 2014:
Vol. 343, Issue 6175, pp. 1092-1093
DOI: 10.1126/science.343.6175.1092

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Over the past century, x-ray crystallography has transformed scientists' understanding of the structure and behavior of materials. Johannes Kepler's 1611 speculation that snowflakes are hexagonal grids of water particles—a hypothesis that could not be tested for centuries to come—sets the very early stage for a field filled with achievements. From Max von Laue's diffraction pattern in 1912 to James Sumner's 1937 demonstration that any protein can be crystallized to crystallography's detailed picture in 2013 of the protein that HIV uses to invade immune cells, this is crystallography at 100.