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The Inner Beauty of Crystals

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact John O'Toole.

SCI Cambridge & Great Eastern Region, RSC Mid-Anglia Section & CU ChemSoc

An illustrated introduction to the complex, fascinating and beautiful world of crystals. Ian Mercer, professional scientist and educator, will describe how crystals may be found throughout the natural world, in plants, rocks and even around distant stars, and how, despite their kaleidoscopic variety, they all conform to surprisingly few three-dimensional patterns. Following a childhood fascination with crystal gardens and pyrotechnics, and a brief spell in the chemical industry, he joined the British Geological Survey (South Kensington, London) in 1965. After gaining his Diploma in Gemmology he transferred to the Geological Museum (London). He gained a degree in Geology with Crystallography during the excitement of the plate tectonics revolution, while working on the first major modern geology exhibition Story of the Earth. Other exhibitions and books culminated in the Treasures of the Earth exhibition (1986). He joined the Gemmological Association as Director of Education in 1990. This took him to the jade markets of China, the snows of Lapland and the massive gem-shows of Tucson Arizona. Although now retired, he continues to share his passion for crystals and gems in books, articles and talks. He relishes the challenge of simply explaining complex subjects.

This talk is part of the Department of Chemistry series.

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