About this website

Responsible for the content of this website is:

Frank Hoffmann, working as a lecturer at the Department of Chemistry of the University of Hamburg.


This site was originally created as an accompanying page for our MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) with the title “The Fascination of Crystals and Symmetry” which we carried out twice at the iversity platform in 2014.

We have just recently decided that we will make the course material publicly and permanant available. So, we are on the way to transform our course into a self-paced but also in-a-way unsupported course. You can still ask questions concerning the lectures and we will try to answer these, but do not expect immediate and/or exhaust response.

The videos / screencast lectures can be found at this YouTube channel, while all additional materials, like slides, transcripts, further reading, links, and crystallographic files are gathered here at this particular website. Please, find below a short description of our course.

Course Summary

In this course, we will provide you with a basic introduction into crystallography. The focus is placed upon the symmetry elements, which occur in crystals. The arrangement of the atoms inside the crystal needs a more detailed description than the overall shape of the crystal (morphology). We want to show you how symmetry is classified in a hierarchical way. We want our students to gain the ability to discover symmetry on their own.

What will I learn?

At the end of the course you will …

  • be aware of the similarities between the patterns on wallpaper and the structures of crystals.
  • be able to classify the innumerable appearances of crystals into the seven different crystal systems.
  • know how to find crystallographic data and how to analyze it regarding symmetry.
  • understand the description of infinite framework structures (i.e. MOFs) via a topology approach.

What do I have to know?

Basic knowledge in chemistry (atoms, simple molecules).


  • approx. 3 hours per week


1 thought on “About

  1. Pingback: Science Rendezvous! | Parker Glynn-Adey

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