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Birkbeck, University of London celebrates its 200th Anniversary in 2023. As it was where much crystallographic development took place – and was the location of the first Department of Crystallography – it seemed appropriate to mark the occasion. So we are publishing here a personal account by Rex Palmer – apart from Alan Mackay, the longest surviving member there from earlier days – his personal account of some of people and some of the crystallographic work done in the College over the past eight or so decades since Bernal took over the Chair in Physics there from Patrick Blackett.

This is an extended version of a shorter article by Rex that was published in the March 2023 Crystallography News. You might also like to refer to the articles in the Bernal special issue of Crystallography News (September 2021), where Christine Slingsby, Paul Barnes and John Finney respectively discuss more of the biological, materials and liquids work that came out of the Department in the Bernal era.

John Finney


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