In week three of the new Of Schemes and Memes blog series, which features weekly interviews with the art team at Nature, Art Director Kelly Krause explains the decisions behind this week’s front cover illustration on Crystallography.
A century after Max von Laue received a Nobel prize for discovering the diffraction of X-rays by crystals, X-ray crystallography has made its mark in almost every field of science. In this special issue, Nature celebrates the International Year of Crystallography by examining the impact of von Laue’s method and its descendants. Cover illustration: Viktor Koen (inset of X-ray diffraction pattern of crystallised 3Clpro by Jeff Dahl; Bragg image by the Nobel Foundation).
From the Art Desk:
Art Director, Kelly Krause, explains:
“The commissioned cover for our special issue was created by artist Viktor Koen to celebrate 100 years of X-ray crystallography. Koen cleverly assembled several key elements to create a beautiful piece. The face in the background is William Lawrence Bragg, who shaped the field with his law of x-ray diffraction in 1912. This work won him a Nobel prize (with his father) in 1915.
“The aim was to nod to history on the cover and also give it a contemporary modern feel to aptly celebrate the anniversary. To that end, we included an image that was very recently published in Nature of a structure that was resolved using a free-electron laser. The inset below is from figure 3 of their paper.
“And the composition itself is very clever, as the funky sort of ‘glasses’ worn by Bragg to go with the cover line ‘The view from here’ also double as a ‘100’ when combined with the blue alpha helix “1” to the left.”