Shattering the crystal lattice

Watson and Crick’s discovery of the structure of DNA is arguably the greatest of the 20th century. The significance lies in its profound influence on our understanding of the nature of life and in its striking demonstration of the power of two disciplines – physics and biology – collaborating to solve a major problem.

The method employed by Watson and Crick was crystallography, a method originating with the Australian father and son team of W.L. and W.H. Bragg, and it was the younger Bragg’s laboratory in which the DNA structure was solved.

Today, crystallography of proteins remains a profoundly important technique at the heart of biotechnology. But crystallography relies on the creation of a crystal, and the most interesting molecules will not crystallise. The goal of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coherent X-ray Science is to develop, using the most modern X-ray sources on the planet, an approach to protein crystallography that removes the need to make a crystal.

For further information: ARC Centre of Excellence for Coherent X-ray Science, Tania Smith,

Tel: +61 3 8344 5444,