Bragg Centenary

This website initially developed in 2013/4 as a focus for outreach and education during the Bragg Centenary and International Year of Crystallography events. We have changed our focus to support this type of work more broadly, but the pages below serve as a legacy from that time…


William Henry Bragg and William Lawrence Bragg

In 2013 it was 100 years since the pioneering work undertaken by William Henry Bragg and his son, William Lawrence Bragg, which underpins the discipline of X-ray crystallography, and for which they were jointly awarded a Nobel Prize in Physics in 1915. By formulating the relationship between a crystal’s atomic structure and its X-ray diffraction pattern they provided a tool which has revolutionised our understanding of the structure of matter ranging from minerals, pharmaceutical materials, and catalysts to DNA, proteins and viruses.

As part of the celebrations for this centenary, an exhibition was created and displayed in the Warwick Arts Centre from the 25th – 31st August 2013.  The exhibition contained a lot of historical documents and letters from the early work of the Braggs, along with work from many of their colleagues.  It contained  equipment that they used along with models and electron density maps that were created from some of the early structure solutions.  The exhibition was fantastic, bringing together such a wide array of artefacts, the the catalogue of The Two Braggs Exhibition can be found here, and a website has been put together to celebrate the exhibition.

Online copy of the 1915 textbook ‘X-rays and Crystal Structures‘ by W. H. Bragg and W. L. Bragg

As part of the Bragg centenary, The Science and Technology Facilities Council has produced a poster which is a useful overview of the important events and scientists who helped shape crystallography as we know it today.

Bragging rights: celebrating the centenary of crystallography – article in The Conversation

A tribute to W. L. Bragg by his daughter

The Two Braggs Crystallography Quiz

The Royal Institution have a Crystallography Channel, celebrating all things crystallography!

Melvyn Bragg on In Our Time on Radio 4 chats to Judith Howard, Chris Hammond and Mike Glazer about the history of crystallography.

Timeline about crystallography discoveries starting with the Braggs.

Melvyn Bragg, a distant cousin of William and Lawrence Bragg, tells the story of their ground breaking work in the ‘Bragg on the Braggs‘ on Radio 4.

The Diamond Light Source celebrates the Bragg Centenary.

The history of the Braggs presented by Elspeth Garman on Radio 4’s Material World.

Bridget Kendall on Radio 4 discusses all the varied uses of crystals, with special guest Elspeth Garman.


Bragg Centenary Events