Krystallo!? What's it all about?

2014 was declared the International Year of Crystallography by the United Nations.

But what exactly is crystallography?

Crystallography is the science that gives us clear views of the atomic and molecular structures inside matter - whether biological or mineral. It gives us, in other words, the keys we need to understand how the physical world works.

The world is full of different materials, varying both in their functional characteristics and how they look or feel. Why, for example, can some materials conduct electricity whilst others provide good insulation? Why are some of them hard and others soft? How does an antibiotic work? etc.

Crystallography provides the answers, by showing how materials are organised at the atomic level - as you will see from the three films below.
(Third film only available in French)


Are you unbeatable on questions about diamond, snowflakes, salt or DNA? Test your knowledge on crystals...
[Quiz currently in French]

Crystal Maze

Play about in the maze and discover the different forms matter can take.

Escher Web Sketch

Create and draw superb frieze patterns in no time at all, thanks to crystallography-based Escher web sketch.

Atomic Crush

With Atomic Crush, collect the atoms and produce crystals.

Crystal Tetris

Try to grow a super-sized crystal with Tetris, a game which simulates the growth of crystals.


A co-production by La Casemate, ESRF, CNRS, CEA and Université Joseph Fourier, for the International Year of Crystallography and the 2014 Festival of Science.
With the support of the Ministry of National Education, Higher Education and Scientific Research
With the patronage of Madame Geneviève Fioraso, Secretary of State for
higher education and scientific research.
With the support of Grenoble Alpes Métropole, SMTC, City of Grenoble, Région Rhône-Alpes, GIANT.

Project leader and scientific committee: Pascal Moutet, Dominique Cornuéjols, Yannick Lacaze, Marc de Boissieu, Thibaut David, Jean-Louis Hodeau
Translation: Robert Corner
Development and graphics: BlackMuffin Studio
Development assistance: HQF Development

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