Come join us for a truly unique and unforgettable time at Crystal-A-Con! Our free half-day interactive excursion will have plenty to see and do for all science lovers, from students, to teachers to everyone who is curious about crystals.

Tickets are available to book now!


Friday 25 August 2023 for school groups and Saturday 26 August 2023 for the general public.

Friday 25 August AM8:30am – 12:30pm
Friday 25 August PM1:00pm – 5:00pm
Saturday 26 August8:30am – 12:30pm

What’s Planned

Your half day experience will include 7 interactive activities and several exhibits to learn and marvel at. From our pattern competition winners display, crystal growing demonstration and even a little dabble in crystals in fashion, there’s something for everyone.

7 Awesome Activities

Did you know there are seven types of building blocks for all crystals? We’re using those as our inspiration for our activities.

See what we have lined up:


Help build our giant diamond crystal structure

Make your own crystal

Make your own crystal model to take home (or to eat!)

Connection to culture

Patterns from around the world


Light and Colour with ANSTO
(our nuclear science agency)


Play a crystal detective with our friends from the Cambridge Crystallographic Data Centre


Build your own biomolecule - origami and more with our friends at the Protein Data Bank


Meet real life crystallographer scientists.
Ask them your anything or find out what their favourite crystals are and why.

Lots of Exciting Exhibitions

As well as our interactive exhibits, there will be lots else to explore – including:


Pattern Competition Winners

STEM and Needles

STEM and Needles with Irene Suarez-Martinez

large crystal structures

Giant Crystal Structures

Public Lecture

Saturday 26 August 2pm – 3pm

We are excited to announce that Professor Jennifer Martin will be presenting at Crystal-A-Con!

Professor Jennifer Martin AC FAA is recognised internationally for her pioneering research in protein crystallography, a science that seeks to understand how biological machines operate.

Professor Jennifer Martin will present to us “How I fell in love with crystallography, and why you should too”.

This public lecture takes a ramble through the history, philosophy and practice of crystallography across the past century, highlighting examples of the discipline’s enormous impact on biology, chemistry, and physics.

Read more about Professor Jennifer Martin or come see her live yourself! We heard there will be mention of chocolate.

<b font-size:1.2rem>Professor Jennifer Martin</b>
Professor Jennifer Martin


Professor Jennifer Martin AC FAA is recognised internationally for her pioneering research in protein crystallography, a science that seeks to understand how biological machines operate.

Professor Martin was the University of Wollongong Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research & Innovation) from 2019 to 2022. Prior to that, she enjoyed a 25-year research career at the University of Queensland and at Griffith University as Director of the Griffith Institute for Drug Discovery. Professor Martin has held four nationally competitive research fellowships including an inaugural ARC Laureate Fellowship. In 2018, Professor Martin was awarded the highest civilian honour in Australia, Companion (AC) in the General Division of the Order of Australia, “for eminent service to science, and to scientific research, particularly in the field of biochemistry and protein crystallography applied to drug-resistant bacteria, as a role model, and as an advocate for gender equality in science”. Professor Martin was President of the Asian Crystallographic Association from 2016 to 2019. She is currently a member of the Executive Committee for the International Union of Crystallography (IUCr), chairs the IUCr Gender Equity and Diversity Committee, and chairs the Advisory Committee to the Worldwide Protein Data Bank. Jenny was elected Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science in 2017 and was a member of the Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) Steering Committee, which established the Athena SWAN pilot to address gender equity in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine across Australia.


How I fell in love with crystallography, and why you should too

What’s not to love? In my sub-field of protein crystallography I can be a:

creative artist - generating beautiful crystals, and designing proteins that glow green;

explorer - discovering for the first time the inner workings of biology;

physicist – recording data at synchrotrons and nuclear reactors around the globe;

chemist - supporting the discovery of new drugs for devastating diseases;

influencer - enabling highly accurate AI-generated protein structures;

and baker - #CrystalCakes.

Have Questions

We’d love to help!

Reach us at or call (+61 2) 9254 5000


Crystallography is a way of working out the shape of things that are too small to be seen, such as atoms. Atoms are the smallest building blocks of everything. Crystallography can tell us how atoms line up and how they make all the materials around the world that surround us every day.

Crystallography is like taking a normal x-ray photo except you don’t see the bones inside a person, you see the tiny little atoms and molecules inside a crystal.

Watch how these crystallographers explain what crystallography is and what they do:


Play Video
Play Video

It can be hard to wrap your head around the definition of what Crystallography is to some, but it’s a really important science and one with lots of connections to Australia. Some of us adults don’t really get it either so imagine explaining this to your students.

This is what Crystal–A-Con is here for. This is a perfect opportunity to bring your class along so we can make learning fun and make Crystallography ‘crystal clear’ to students and children!

See more of our video resources here.


Bragg Your Pattern is an outreach initiative by a small group of Australian scientists responsible for organising the 26th Congress and General Assembly of the International Union of Crystallography (IUCr 2023).

The purpose is to inspire and provide educational resources and experiences to students and teachers as our way of celebrating and giving back to the community as a lasting legacy of the International Congress.

Yes there are! Volunteer opportunities for Crystal-A-Con and IUCr 2023 more broadly will become available in the coming weeks. Details of this are in the works right now.

To stay abreast of updates, sign up to this list.

All volunteers will need to pass a police check and have a valid working with children check.

Please follow these links for more full details:

Working with Children Check -

Working with Vulnerable People Check -

Yes, these can be arranged for your school group which provide easy and safe access to Crystal-A-Con. Details of these will be provided once your tickets have been booked and group confirmed.

Yes there is, see details here.

Wilson Parking operates a secure underground car park at MCEC that offers a range of flexible rates. Book online before you visit to ensure you’re guaranteed a great spot.

Book a car spot online

Yes you can, options can be found here.

The closest train station is Southern Cross. Once you exit the station, you can catch the 96, 109 or 12 tram routes and arrive at MCEC in just a few stops. For train timetables or further trip planning, use Public Transport Victoria’s Journey Planner.

Whilst there is no food to be catered at Crystal–A–Con, The Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre has a wide variety of food options to be purchased. See options here.