This morning, we spent 25 minutes talking about plans for the future, using the Future Mathematical Crystallography posting as a starting point. Here are some of the points that were made.
- The 20-minute format is difficult. Perhaps we should try round-table discussions following a presentation, or just a panel discussion. Either way, the panelists would be chosen from a wide range of fields, and there could be a Q & A component for the audience to participate. This was done at Madrid and it got the audience involved.
- We are a small group, and if we spread ourselves over a large number of meetings, we would be spread thin and lose focus. On the other hand, there is no reason why we need some central authority to decide what meetings we have; we could have meeting organization be an emergent phenomenon. (At this point, I said that while I plan to go to one meeting a year, I am willing to help organize other meetings).
- There are several places that offer support for more focused meetings (like Leiden) and places that offer support for longer programs, extending for weeks or even longer (like Cambridge).
- We are starting discussions with SIAM about doing something jointly. We could also try the Materials Research Society or the American Crystallographic Society, as well as other societies.
- There was a general feeling that we have to have titles of minisymposia and special sections that sell mathematical crystallography to people who may have jaundiced views of mathematics. Perhaps using adjectives like “applied”, or phrases like “crystal design” or “crystal structure”.
One point came up later, during Mike’s talk. One device for attracting attention is to list major open problems. David Hilbert did this in 1900, when he proposed 23 major problems for mathematicians (and crystallographers should all know about Hilbert’s Eighteenth Problem). Perhaps we should think about problems we might want to pose, perhaps like the list Mike Zaworotko proposed:
- Some nets appear to be special cases of others. For example, mjz is what a mathematician might call a homomorphic pre-image of pcu. How could the relationship between such pairs of nets be defined, and what does such a relationship between them imply?
- Crystal designers have engineered from design a number of uninodal and binodal nets. They are starting to get new trinodal nets. Is there a systematic way to do this?
- Mathematical crystallography spans several sciences and engineering fields. How can we develop a common language comprehensible and tolerable to (most) all participants?
- A number of polyhedra (often “complexes” like “faceted polyhedra”) seem particularly useful in crystal design. What (properties of) polyhedra should we expect to be useful?
- For porous crystals composed of molecular building blocks and linkers, we could try to build crystals with linkers that are not straight; i.e., they are angular. How should this be done?
We might think about composing a list and publicizing it.
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