X Ray Crystallography Research Paper

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The 1910’s were a time of great change and exploration, and a time of immense competition among inventors and scientists. Undoubtedly one of the greatest races was the one to lead science and change the world with one’s mind. A particular invention, X-ray crystallography, revolutionized science starting in 1915 and continuing its impact to today. Beginning with Max von Laue, a struggling physicist, and falling into the hands of the father-son duo William Lawrence and William Henry Bragg, the two scrambled to formulate and advance the x-ray process. By crystallizing molecules and atoms, they were able to diffract light and produce three dimensional models of molecular structures. The process itself begins with vapor diffusion, a way to grow…show more content…
The sheer impact of this invention transformed all aspects of life, and changed the way one is able to view anatomy and the world around them. The ability to understand chemical bonds, the size of atoms, and the structure of electrons impacted the scientific field in extraordinary ways. X-ray crystallography lead to thousands of scientific discoveries in different fields, including physics, chemistry, and biology. Therefore, x-ray crystallography is the most significant invention of its time.

X-ray crystallography induced thousands of additional discoveries over the past century, and widened its influence in hundreds of different fields. Although it was never meant to be a research tool, rather as an exploration into x-rays themselves, it would be nearly impossible to closely analyze biological materials without it. The process of X-ray crystallography is essential to determine nearly everything about proteins and DNA. These forms are made up of atoms, as all matter is, and without crystallography it would be exceedingly difficult to know anything from volume to structure of a material. During the 1910’s von Laue was awarded
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Starting in the following decade, James Watson and Francis Crick analyzed a crystalline model of DNA done by Rosalind Franklin, and used it to determine the double helix structure of DNA (Genetics: Unlocking the Secret to Life). This subsequently led to astonishing advancements in the genetic field, including the Human Genome Project. The project used crystallography and other methods to lead a global effort to identify 30,000 human genes and map human DNA (Human Genome Project). Despite being an almost unknown and forgotten technique, crystallography led to more well known and renowned accomplishments, such as Dorothy Hodgkin using the process to discover the structure of penicillin. Some may say this ingenuity didn’t affect the time period, and was not the most significant in the 1910’s. However, the world would be tragically different without these developments, and even the time period alone would drastically diverge. Furthermore, popular designs such as the zipper or the flip flop circuit do not hold the power or lead the way to discovery like crystallography does. As stated in x Ray crystallography, “Furthermore, the availability of a protein structure can provide a more detailed focus for future research. The extension of the technique to systems such as viruses, immune complexes, and protein–nucleic acid complexes serves only to
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