Arrangements of atoms and molecules in crystals

Sir William Henry Bragg demonstrating the arrangement of atoms and molecules in crystals.

This film, produced by General Electric in 1930s, shows Sir William Henry Bragg, Director of the Royal Institution, demonstrating the arrangement of atoms and molecules in crystals.

Bragg explains how x-rays can be used to see into the structure of solid bodies and how these structures help to determine their properties. He goes on to describe how groups of atoms and molecules meet together to produce crystallization in many substances that we never thought would have had a crystalline structure.

Bragg then describes and shows the structure of diamond with the use of a model and how the atoms are arranged with respect to one another. It is this structure which helps to produce the unique properties of diamond.

The importance of creating models is further explained with the description of the structure of paraffin and how these were traditionally thought to be long chain compounds. With advances in x-rays, these organic substances can now be made in into model form and their precise structures determined.  

Bragg goes on to describe the difficulties in undertaking the x-ray crystallographic experiments on paraffin and other organic bodies to determine structure, but also that it is only natural for chemists to try and hence to complete a model of their structure.

He finishes the film by saying;

“If x-rays can help him (the organic chemist) by showing exactly how atoms are arranged, why then we are helping to advance the cause of scientific knowledge and that really is what this x-ray work is trying to do.”

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