Symmetry and Space Group Tutorial
by Jerry P. Jasinski and Bruce M. Foxman
Knowledge of space groups and the implications of space group symmetry on the physical and chemical properties of solids are pivotal factors in all areas of structural science. As we met to bring our ideas in teaching this subject to life, we both felt that “early and often” – teaching the concepts with textual and visual reinforcement, are key to providing a sound basis for students in this subject. The tutorial contains > 200 PowerPoint "slides", in five modules, arranged by crystal class; a sixth module covers special topics. A "credits" module gives the direct addresses of all links. Space group diagrams appear in International Tables format.
the latest version
(v1.55, 09 February 2007) available on
this site, the triclinic and monoclinic groups (2+13) are built from
"scratch", and are derived from the Hermann-Mauguin
symbol. An additional section provides practice on many (but not all)
orthorhombic groups in crystal class 222. Finally, a "Special
Topics" section on enantiomorphous space
features space groups P41 and P43.
In the tutorial, lattice points build iteratively & interactively
with keyclick, and
the coordinates of points "pop up" as the unit cell is filled.
We hope that the elements of guidance, inquiry and occasional humor
the learning process enjoyable. Support by the National Science
through grants DMR-0504000 (
Version 1.55 contains many corrections to the previous version (1.33), and INCLUDES ALL EXTERNAL LINKS. The latter change was made in response to users’ comments that links soon became outdated or changed, and many of the links in version 1.33 were broken as of Summer 2006. A new section includes the complete references to all of the links bundled with the new version. In order for the bundled links to run successfully, the tutorial must be installed in a specific directory (C:\symandsg). Full instructions are given below.
The tutorial will run
on a PC with MS PowerPoint installed. The download is now completely
unprotected (!!!) and should also run on Mac computers with PowerPoint
installed; some Mac users report an occasional need for font corrections.
DO NOT EDIT THE RAW POWERPOINT FILES - RATHER, NOTIFY US OF ERRORS AND
WE"LL MAKE THE CHANGES SO ALL CAN BENEFIT FROM CORRECTIONS!
Please fill in these details to help us track usage of the program. You will not be sent unsolicited email. You may be notified of important updates if you request them by leaving the check in the box below:
Once the .zipped file above has been downloaded, the tutorial must be installed in the specific directory “C:\symandsg”. Note that the folder "Main" must appear at the top level of that directory, or all links will be broken. A shortcut provided in that directory may be moved to the desktop if desired, or the program may be run directly from the directory by double-clicking on the shortcut in the directory. The tutorial contains historical, professional and pedagogic links; browser behavior varies with version and "brand". Returning to the tutorial from the browser seems to work best in Mozilla/Netscape by minimizing the browser window. In IE, return to the tutorial works best using a right-click, and selecting "Back". Let us know if there are any problems. The tutorial links have been tested with only the latest versions of browsers. If erratic behavior is encountered, that is a source to consider.
We are no longer supplying the presentation with a bundled Powerpoint Viewer – the present version (thus far) has tested OK on local machines running W2K and XP, and having legal versions of Powerpoint 2000 or 2003.
There is a price for using this tutorial!!!! Please send feedback with corrections, suggestions, etc. We hope you will enjoy this material and will find it useful. Many thanks!
Send content and tutorial comments to Bruce M. Foxman ( foxman1 at brandeis.edu)
Bruce Foxman ( foxman1 at brandeis.edu ) Last updated 16 February 2007