RFD : sci.xtallography

Lachlan Cranswick lachlan at dmp.csiro.au
Tue Aug 31 19:49:14 EST 1993

Newsgroups: news.groups
Subject: Re: RFD : sci.misc.xtallography
Keywords: crystallography
References: <1993Aug27.030451.1886 at dmp.csiro.au> <John.F.Mansfield-270893114134 at jfm.sprl.umich.edu> <25li0m$jht at gazette.bcm.tmc.edu> <1993Aug29.225543.7126 at dmp.csiro.au> <1993Aug31.123552.9126 at infodev.cam.ac.uk>

I will cross-post this to bionet.xtallography and sci.materials,
and this discussion overlaps with both these newsgroups.



ijackson at nyx.cs.du.edu (Ian Jackson) writes:

>In article <1993Aug29.225543.7126 at dmp.csiro.au> lachlan at dmp.csiro.au (Lachlan Cranswick) writes:
>>- it looks like the suggested name
>>will be sci.xtallography.  I hope this is not a problem for 
>>people as this is a semi-accepted abrieviation of the word crystallography.
>>The 2nd RFD will hopefully be out in the next few days.

>Please use the hierarchy that already exists: sci.materials.*.
>That way you can choose either sci.materials.xtallography or
>sci.materials.crystals with less chance of having the loony new-age
>crystals types invading your group.

>Using sci.materials will make your group easier to find and put it
>closer to related groups.  I can see no cogent argument against that

>Unless you convince me otherwise I shall vote against it if you put it
>in the root level of sci, and advise others to do so.

The initial reason for suggesting a crystallography newsgroup
by the name of sci.misc.xtallography was a request by the Usenet
administrators to try and help restrict the number of second
level newsgroups.  The implication being that I (inadvertantly)
implied crystallography was a "major" field of science like physics or chemistry
by suggesting a second level hierarchy name (which was originally

While sober, I (and most other crystallographers?)
would not regard this discipline of science "more" or "less" 
important than other fields of science.  So, given crystallography
goes over many convential "labels" of science such as physics,
chemistry, biology, materials science, the misc was put
in so as not to suggest that discussion was to be artificially limited
to a conventional "label" of science such as physics or chemistry, etc.


However, as we all know, the misc was not appreciated - which was
why the name was changed to sci.xtallography.  Newsgroup creation
is a democratic process.


For those who think that crystallography is limited to
materials science - I would ask the question whether these
people are either materials scientists or crystallographers?

Despite that I deal mainly with inorganic phases and structures,
it would arrogant(sp?) of me to imply crystallography was only
the domain of the materials scientist.

Two examples of crystallography going beyond the bounds of
the "material science" label are given below - perhaps people could
suggest more ?

1) Determining the mechanism of protein function from protein 
crystal structures.

2) Mathematical modelling of peak-shape to determine accurate 
structual parameters such as atomic position and thermal parameters.


Does present scientific research "rely" on labels such as physics,
chemistry, biology, etc to artificially limit the scope 
of research any more?  I originally spent half an
honours year in a university chemistry department studying the life cycle
of a fungus - part organic chemistry, part biochemistry, part
microbiology.  What conventional science label would you put that under!?


Also, am I (and a couple of email replies) the only ones who have
noticed that the main criticism of this proposed newsgroup
is coming from non-crystallographers and non-scientific users
of the internet newsgroups.  Is this an accurate observation?

If so, no wonder there are so few science groups on the Usenet if
creating them is so intimidating for scientists
who are not part of the present Usenet "culture". This "culture"
seems to value newsgroups as only a toy - while it can also 
be a powerful scientific resource for the timely and open
exchange of information and opinions.  Presently such open
exchange of opinions would be impractical and/or take months to years
on conventional paper scientific journals.

Again, as stated in a previous post, this "anti (indifferent)? 
science" attitude is strange as the Usenet 
almost solely relies on the present
infrastructure of the internet to be so healty.  
The same internet that is funded 
as an internationl scientific and research network.

Perhaps people might like to compare this with the number of popular
alt.* and rec.* newsgroups such as alt.sex.bondage or alt.sex which
are much easier to create.  <sigh> If only I had suggested
creating an sci.sex.bondage.xtallography (that matches what
the present Usenet "culture" expects out of a newsgroup) - then it
would have been created by now.  :-) :-) :-)


Lachlan Cranswick  -  CSIRO     _--_|\  lachlan at dmp.CSIRO.AU  "Blessed
Division of Mineral Products   /      \ tel +61 3 647 0367     are the 
PO Box 124, Port Melbourne     \_.--._/ fax +61 3 646 3223     Cheesemakers"
3207 AUSTRALIA                       v    "Eat Judge Boot!" - J. Dredd. 

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