Dr. Frank Hoffmann, Michael Sartor, and Michael Fröba

The Fascination of Crystals and Symmetry

  • FREE
  • English
  • Chemistry
  • Certificate included

What is the course about?

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.

  • understand the relationship between the structure and the properties of a material. Ex.: Why is diamond so hard and the explanation of phenomena such as ferroelectricity?

What do I have to know?

Basic knowledge in chemistry (atoms, simple molecules).


  • approx. 3 hours per week

Do I get a certificate?

Students participating in this course can earn the official Statement of Participation.

Requirements for receiving the Statement of Participation are to watch 80% of the lecture videos as well as complete 80% of the quizzes.

Course instructors