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History of the Physical Crystallography and Structural Condensed Matter Physics(PCG-SCMP) Group

The Physical Crystallography Group was formed in 1943 as the X-ray Analysis Group of The Institute of Physics. In the early days this included all branches of crystallography and held meetings in Savoy Place London with regular attendees including Lawrence Bragg. As the interest in crystallographic techniques grew amongst chemists the need for separate groups was recognised leading to the formation of a separate Chemical Crystallography Group. Subsequently the name of the X-ray Analysis Group was changed to the Physical Crystallography Group. Efforts to reunify the crystallographic community led to the foundation of the British Crystallography Group in 1982. The Physical Crystallography Group joined as a group of this new society while retaining strong links with The Institute of Physics. In 1999, to reflect the wider scope of the subject area in the physics community, the group was renamed as the Structural Condensed Matter Physics group with respect to its ties with the Institute.

The group is concerned with both the theory and applications of crystallography. It typically organises two meetings a year, one as part of the Spring Meeting of the British Crystallographic Society and a winter meeting, currently held jointly with the ISIS Crystallography Users Group. The conferences cover a wide range of topics, due to the interdisciplinary nature of the subject. In recent year these have included talks on magnetism, the local structure of materials, modulated structures, distortion mode analysis and the importance of the structure-property relationship in advanced materials.