32nd Annual Conference of the German Crystallographic Society – A brief overview

Written by Melissa Janesch.

The 32nd Annual Meeting of the German Crystallographic Society took place this year from 18 to 21 March 2024 in Bayreuth at the ARVENA Kongress Hotel. After everyone had secured their goodie bags and been warmly welcomed by the organising committee, the DGK kicked off with the first plenary lecture. Here, the audience was taken on an exciting journey into the world of proteins. The subsequent coffee break offered an opportunity to get an overview of the participants. Many had just said goodbye to each other a few hours earlier – at the Häko in Stuttgart – only to see each other again here at the DGK. Finally, the four microsymposia offered insights into the diverse worlds of (inorganic) chemistry. This made the official part of the first day fly by.

Alexander Pöthig presenting at the Science Slam.

Some of the conference participants continued with the science slam organised by Stoe. Here they presented their own research in a satirical and funny way. To round off this successful evening in a cosy atmosphere, the participants gathered in the Kanapee, the only pub in Bayreuth that is open late into the night. Consequently, this became THE meeting place for the following evenings, where one could meet nocturnal scientists.


The first session of the microsymposia started on the second day with fully packed seminar rooms. Once again, the programme included lectures on structural biology, chemistry under extreme conditions, “classical” solid-state chemistry and interesting experimental methods. Before the pleasantly long lunch break, Prof Dr Maxim Bykov enchanted the audience with a very stimulating and informative lecture on chemistry at high pressure. Thanks to the generously calculated lunch break, there was still some time after lunch to enjoy the beautiful weather and stroll through Bayreuth’s historic city centre.

Bayreuth Market Square.

Here we were able to catch a glimpse of the Richard Wagner Museum, which is located in his old home, as well as the Freemason Museum, which was almost crying out for a visit. However, time did not allow for this, as we soon continued with the concentrated knowledge that we were given in the following two microsymposia. The “Teaching and Lightning Talks” by the Young Crystallographers were very interesting, with presentations including a chemistry escape room and a demonstration of how the rather complex field of crystallography can be taught simply and understandably at secondary schools. In the second slot of the microsymposia, several posters were teased in short, five-minute presentations with the first poster session commencing immediately afterwards. The state of research was readily presented and lively discussions ensued. Somewhere in the audience, there were also members of the poster committee, who would award a poster prize to the “Teaching and Lightning Talks” and the “Oral Posters” following the poster session. Consequently, there was some tension in the air and everyone tried to do their best.  Finally, the first poster session was over and it was time for the award ceremony. This took place as part of the “Get Together” of the Young Crystallographers, who also awarded the poster prize in conjunction with Stoe. This year’s winners were Alena Shlyaykher from Marburg and Anushka Gosh from Berlin. Afterwards, there was still time for the two presentations of the Liselotte Tempelton Prize winners, which dealt with mercury cubes and novel ligands for titanium(IV) complexes. We enjoyed a stretched-out and cosy get-together in the large hall of the congress hotel until we were kindly asked to disperse.

Anushka Gosh during her award-winning talk.
The Young Chrystallographer’s Get-together.

The conference resumed on Wednesday with another set of Microsymposia. Mineralogy also made an appearance this time with an extremely relevant but also challenging topic, namely order and disorder in minerals and how this should be treated. Before lunch, Dr Eugenia Peresypkina from Regensburg showed us impressive nanomolecular supramolecular structures and the (potential) application of these. After the lunch break, a time slot was set aside for various working group meetings, followed by further microsymposia, ranging from high-pressure chemistry, which is of course a must in Bayreuth, to structural chemistry and biology and a second mineralogy symposium. Finally, the second and last poster session of this year’s DGK took place. This started a little earlier than yesterday, as the “Social Evening” was to take place this evening in the “Liebesbier” restaurant. As the name suggests, this was an opportunity to sample famous beer from Bayreuth, but it wasn’t just the beer that was delicious, the food also was a real treat. All tastes were catered for here and wonderful conversations and lively discussions ensued. Later in the evening, these discussions were once again moved back to the Kanapee to bring the last evening in Bayreuth to a cosy close.

The nocturnal crew at Kanapee.

The rows were correspondingly thin the next day, but filled up throughout the morning until the last plenary talk. Here, Marc de Boissieu took the audience into the fascinating world of quasicrystals, in particular their structure and symmetry, which is by no means trivial. Finally, it was time to say goodbye. After a brief summary by the organising committee on the course of the conference – which was considered to have been exclusively good – the location of the 33rd annual conference of the German Crystallographic Society was announced. This will take place next year in Hannover.

In general, the 32nd DGK in Bayreuth was a very interesting and instructive conference. The numerous microsymposia offered a wide range of varied and attractive presentations and gave the participants the opportunity to choose independently between subject areas. But the plenary lectures were not neglected either and offered a rich spectrum of information. Of course, the social aspect is a must at conferences, and this was certainly not neglected here, be it at the Young Crystallographers’ Get Together, the Social Evening or during the generous coffee breaks. Many thanks to the Local Organising Committee Prof. Dr Dr Natalia Dubrovinskaia, Prof. Dr Sander van Smaalen and Prof. Dr Leonid Dubrovinsky as well as Conventus Congressmanagement & Marketing GmbH for organising this wonderful conference.