64. Konwersatorium Krystalograficzne, Wrocław 5 - 7 VII 2023 r.
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History of the conference

 History of the Meeting

On June 23, 1956, the first X-ray "Konwersatorium" (i.e. a discussion session) took place in Wrocław. Why in Wroclaw? Why "Konwersatorium", not a conference? Why X-ray? The answer is simple. Here, in Wrocław, prof. Włodzimierz Trzebiatowski worked and made research. It was he, who brought his notebook of X-ray powder diffraction measurements from Lwów and continued his study in Wrocław. He believed that the determination of the crystal structure is fundamental to understand the properties of condensed phases. He broadly understood the structural research: from obtaining crystals, through studies of real structure (defects), a determination of the crystal structure, its changes under the influence of temperature, pressure, or under the influence of various external fields, and, in the final stage, up to possible applications. Professor Trzebiatowski was always emphasizing that crystallography is a new interdisciplinary field of science, located between physics, chemistry, metallurgy, biology and material engineering. Professor was a visionary, but also an engineer by education, and therefore he believed that meetings of scientists of so different specialties must be based on discussion, exchange of views, creating a common language of research - and hence  "Konwersatorium". Professor found outstanding students in the persons of prof. Kazimierz Łukaszewicz, prof. Zdzisław Gałdecki, prof. Tadeusz Głowiak and received the support of many eminent Polish scholars: from Poznań - prof. Zofia Kosturkiewicz, from Cracow - prof. Józef Chojnacki, from Warsaw - prof. Julian Auleytner, prof. Janusz Leciejewicz, and many others.

Annual meetings allowed for the exchange of experience, presentation of results, sharing the latest measurement methods or new calculation programs. At that time, it was the only forum for scientific exchange in the field of structural analysis; the Committee of Crystallography of the Polish Academy of Sciences did not yet exist (it was established as the Commission for Crystallography of the Polish Academy of Sciences in 1967). In those days, there were no scientific societies covering the fields of crystallography (such as the Society for Crystal Growth, Neutrongraphy Society, Synchrotron Radiation Society, or the Crystallographic Society, which were formed many years later). The ideas of organizing summer schools on structural analysis, conferences on applied crystallography or on crystallochemistry of organic compounds were born at the "Konwersatorium". The Meetings were also a platform for agreeing research topics within government programs and coordinating these studies. They were also a place of personal meetings of scientists from all over Poland and the birth of very strong ties that consolidated the Polish crystallographic society, so that today it is a distinct and vibrant community of scientists. Professor Kazimierz Łukaszewicz (the chairman of the organizing committee of the Meeting for decades, and, later, the long-term chairman of the Committee of Crystallography of the Polish Academy of Sciences) always strived for family like atmosphere. His efforts still result in good cooperation between various research centers, a friendly atmosphere of conferences, schools and workshops.

Apart from successes of the Meetings, they had also periods of certain difficulties and lower activity. Here we should mention prof. Zdzisław Gałdecki merits. He introduced new spirit into meetings at "Konwersatorium". In the years 1984 to 1990, he together with the entire team from the Institute of General and Ecological Chemistry of the Łódź University of Technology got involved in co-organization of the Meetings. In 1970, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1987 meetings took place in Trzebieszowice, Łódź, Poznań and Jaszowiec.

In the 80s of the twentieth century, the concept of building new measuring devices for X-ray structural analysis appeared during the Meeting. An advocate of this idea was prof. Kazimierz Łukaszewicz. In the INTiBS PAN a team was created (dr Damian Kucharczyk, dr Mariusz Malinowski), which undertook the task of building a Polish single crystal diffractometer. Professor Zdzisław Gałdecki found the funds and so KUMA-Diffraction was created. Now, years later, it can be said that thanks to this, Polish crystallography has entered the world's forefront from the nineties of the last century. We are successful in scientific research, our research centers not only count in protein crystallography, but also in the field of new concepts for the description of aperiodic structures, polymorphic phase transitions, farmceutic  or nanomaterials research. These successes were greatly influenced by meetings and discussions at the annual "Konwersatorium".

We do not know what the following years of the 21st century will bring to us, but we can hope that the annual meetings at "Konwersatorium" will continue to be a platform for joint discussions and the creation of new ideas in an atmosphere of friendship and understanding.

Prof. Adam Pietraszko 
(the text written on the occasion of the 50th "Konwersatorium" - 2008)

The detailed list of the Meetings 1956 - 2022 (pdf file)