Facts and figures
- The model is a cube with edge length over 3.1 m,
- consisting of 38880 balls of red and white colour
- and, when put side by side, over 10 km of connecting sticks.
- It visualizes the arrangement of atoms in crystals,
- concretely the NaCl-structure-type, exhibited by many materials essential to our daily lifes.
- The magnification factor as copmpared to the original is nearly one billion,
- i.e. this is for example how a grain of table salt with edge length of 0.0000096 mm would "look like".
What is a crystal structure model?
Crystals are composed of a three dimensional periodic arrangement of
atoms. The structure type shown in the model is a common one exhibited by numerous
substances. It was amongst the first ones to be discovered: In 1915,
William Henry Bragg and William Lawrence Bragg received the Nobel Prize
in Physics for solving it for the first time. Since then, scientists are able to
find out the way atoms are arranged in crystals which had major
influence on technology, medicine and understanding of nature.
models helps visualizing the arrangement of atoms in crystals. There
are different types of models, the one presented here is a so called
"ball and stick model", depicting the gravicenter of atoms as balls and
bonds connecting them as sticks.
What does "LARGEST crystal structure model" mean?
This model is the largest section of a crystal's atomic structure ever
to be physically modeled true to scale in 3D. This means: Most atomic
models (balls) used, most bond models (sticks) used and most unit cells
Why now? Is there a current relevance?
- 2014 was proclaimed by United Nations the "International Year of Crystallography"
- and 2015 the "International Year of Soils" - two topics based on what is shown in the model.
- Exactly 100 years ago, the Nobel Prize was awarded to the discovery of the crystal structure shown in the model.
What about visiting the model?
The largest crystal structure model in the world visualizes the constitution of materials esential to our daily life - however, when magnified about one billion times! Already the visual appearance of the model is spectacular
, not only for the size but because looking at it, you will experience unique optical effects. However, more important than the impression is the knowledge
which is transferred via this project: What is a crystal? How do we know about the constitution of such a thing? Which materials exhibit the structure shown in the model and where do we encounter them in our daily life? The exhibition of the model in November 2015 will be complemented with guided tours, presentations, shows etc.
Are you interested in a guided trip to the nanocosm? Especially kindergarden groups
and school classes
of any age, but also any other kind of groups are cordially invited! Please contact me
to coordinate a visit.
Can I show the model at my place?
The model is demountable and transportable. In the future, it shall be used to communicate science in exhibitions, at events, etc. The largest crystal structure model in the world is a very impressive exhibit, a unique eye-catcher and attention-getter as well as an exciting attraction. If you are interested in showing the whole model or parts of it - please contact me
Who is the crazy guy building it?
Robert Krickl (*1981) is a mineralogist and crystallographer with
emphasis on interdisciplinary topics connected to other geo-, bio- and
material- as well as historical sciences. Besides scientific research,
he dedicated his life to the communication of science to general public
all ages. After finishing his PhD in 2009, he does project-based
research and is self employed, devoting himself to outreach, i.e.
journalism, giving lectures, organising exhibitions, roadshows, school
and kindergarten activities. He is known and recognized for his new and
innovative ways of communicating science to everyone (inter alia winner
of the British Council's FameLab competition) and has a wide
national and international network (inter alia bord member of the Austrian Mineralogical Society and National Focal Point of the Earth Science Matters Foundation). You can get more information on his affiliations on his homepage and current activities on his facebook-site (like to follow).
Where do I get further information?
Chronology and timeline
Here is a short overview on the milestones of the project. A complete chronicle with current news etc. is provided by the facebook-site of the project.
- 18.06.2013: Submission to Guinness Book of Records
- 06.11.2013: Project accepted, officially registered as world record attempt
- 04.04.-18.12.2014: Parts of the model used for science communication
in the touring exhibition through Austria on the occasion of the
"International Year of Crystallography" (United Nations) through all
federal states of Austria, with contributions to the "Long Night of
Research" and "Long Night of Museums", talks, lectures, school- and
- 25.06.2014: Negotiations with the City of Vienna: The world record will be set 2015 in the courtyard of the Vienna City Hall
- 26.01.2015: Presentation at the general assembly of the Austrian Mineralogical Society
- 28.02.-01.03.2015: Exhibition of a module at the international fair "Mineralium" in the Wiener Stadthalle
- 24.04.2015: Presentation of the project at the conference
"Crystallography for the next generation: The legacy of IYCr" of the
International Union of Crystallography under Auspices of UNESCO and others at Rabat, Morocco
- 28.05.-10.07.2015: Exhibition of a module at the Oecological Garden at Mödling on the occasion of the cultural festival of Lower Austria
- 29.05.2015: Exhibition at the "Long NIght of Churches" in Vienna
- 15.07.2015: Contribution to the Children's University Vienna
- 03.10.2015: Contribution to the "Long Night of Museums" in Vienna
- 27.10.2015: Start of assembly at Vienna City Hall
- 27.10.-30.11.2015: Assembling and presentation in the courtyard of the Vienna City Hall
- 06.11.2015: Presentation of a postage stamp and special envelopes on the project
- 07.-08.11.2015: Exhibition of a module at the mineral fair "Intermineralia" in Baden
- 11.11.2015: Cenntenial of the Nobel Prize of Max von Laue who discovered that crystals exbibit a 3D-periodic arrangement of atoms - what is shown by the model.
- 12.11.2015: Centennial of the Nobel Prize of William H. and William L. Bragg who solved the first crystal structures - like the one shown by the model.
- 23.11.2015: Official world record attempt with international guests, talks, etc.
- The display is extended until March 2016
- 15.02.2016: World record officially accepted by Rekord Institut fuer Deutschland (institute registering world records in German speaking countries)
- 24.02.2016: Finissage event at Vienna City Hall with international guests
- March 2016: The last parts of the model are removed from Vienna City Hall.
- 01.04.2016: World record officially accepted by Guinness Book of Records
- 01.03.-31.05.2016: A part of the model is the highlight of the exhibition "Rohstoffe sind Zukunft" of the Mining University at Leoben (Styria)
- 21.-28.08.2017: The model will be displayed at the 24th Congress and General Assembly of the International Union of Crystallography in Hyderabad (India)
- The story goes on - stay tuned ;)