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Crystallography Made Crystal Clear, Third Edition: A Guide for Users of Macromolecular Models (Complementary Science) [Paperback]

Gale Rhodes
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)

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Book Description

February 15, 2002 0125870736 978-0125870733 3
Crystallography Made Crystal Clear makes crystallography accessible to readers who have no prior knowledge of the field or its mathematical basis. This is the most comprehensive and concise reference for beginning Macromolecular crystallographers, written by a leading expert in the field. Rhodes' uses visual and geometric models to help readers understand the mathematics that form the basis of x-ray crystallography. He has invested a great deal of time and effort on World Wide Web tools for users of models, including beginning-level tutorials in molecular modeling on personal computers. Rhodes' personal CMCC Home Page also provides access to tools and links to resources discussed in the text. Most significantly, the final chapter introduces the reader to macromolecular modeling on personal computers-featuring SwissPdbViewer, a free, powerful modeling program now available for PC, Power Macintosh, and Unix computers. This updated and expanded new edition uses attractive four-color art, web tool access for further study, and concise language to explain the basis of X-ray crystallography, increasingly vital in today's research labs.

* Helps readers to understand where models come from, so they don't use them blindly and
* Provides many visual and geometric models for understanding a largely mathematical method
* Allows readers to judge whether recently published models are of sufficiently high quality and detail to be useful in their own work
* Allows readers to study macromolecular structure independently and in an open-ended fashion on their own computers, without being limited to textbook or journals illustrations
* Provides access to web tools in a format that will not go out of date. Links will be updated and added as existing resources change location or are added

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Crystallography Made Crystal Clear, Third Edition: A Guide for Users of Macromolecular Models (Complementary Science) + Biomolecular Crystallography: Principles, Practice, and Application to Structural Biology
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Editorial Reviews


Praise for the first edition
" my opinion is now the best reference for noncrystallographers who want to know more about X-ray diffraction and the data that result from it."

Book Description

Expanded and updated edition uses four-color art and concise language to explain the basis of X-ray crystallography

Product Details

  • Series: Complementary Science
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Academic Press; 3 edition (February 15, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0125870736
  • ISBN-13: 978-0125870733
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 6 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #692,054 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Gale Rhodes provides learning tools in structural biology and bioinformatics at

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Updated for the e-century June 25, 2000
By A Customer
The second edition of Crystallography Made Crystal Clear contains many improvements over the first edition, especially regarding the introduction of new graphics technology available to everyone that can view this webpage on the internet. Rhodes especially explains how the PDB file works and how to view it to best suit the individual scientist's purpose.
It is important to note that the book is still far from "crystal clear"! The portion of the book dealing with the physics of x-ray diffraction is very mysterious--definately dig out the old college physics textbook and read about diffraction when you find yourself confused. Also, the mathematics presented in the middle chapters of the book are way beyond the level that biochemists must deal with on a regular basis. An understanding of multi-variable calculus is important for these chapters.
Overall, the book is a must-read for anyone interested in structural biology, with the exception of several chapters regarding the mathematics that can be skimmed over. And the webpage associated with the book is an excellent resource.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Buy "Biomolecular Crystallography" July 22, 2010
Buy "Biomolecular Crystallography" instead. This book tries to condense too much information on too few pages. I didn't understand everything in "Biomolecular Crystallography", but the sections that I did understand, are very well written. It's more expensive, but it's a better book, for those that really want to understand crystallography beyond various tutorials on the internet and "Crystallography Made Crystal Clear".
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best introduction to the subject June 14, 2004
This is the best introduction to crystallography I have ever come across. Which is quite an achievement because it's a rather complicated subject to study. In crystallography it's very common to find books which deal with either a totally descriptive approach or a totally mathematical approach. Rhodes' book bridges the gap between the two and gives the reader the right dose of jargon and explanation. He illustrates every point with plenty of figures as well as real life computer models of proteins. Before I came across this book, I was struggling and failing to understand Isomorphous Replacement, MAD, Solvent Flattening, Maps and Models, as well as the iterative refining of models. I think no other book comes even close to this book in explaining all these concepts in a simple format. This, I think is as clear as it can get without becoming oversimplified. A must have for all researchers and students whose work is connected to crystallography in any way; this would include crystallographers themselves, biochemists and molecular biologists and computational chemists.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Clear perhaps, accurate not February 16, 2009
While Crystallography made Crystal Clear by Gale Rhodes is certainly easy to read, it oversimplifies things and introduces a few inaccuracies. It falls short to make the student really understand crystallography, which, in my opinion, is not a good thing for a textbook. On the other hand, I have made the experience that, unfortunately, many students are happy with only a superficial knowledge of the basic theory (I have been teaching crystallography for about a decade now) and this book helps with this attitude.

My advice: if you just want to pass the class and don't care about the subject, go with this book. If, however, you really want to understand what crystallography is about, you need to read either the great beginner's book by Werner Massa: Crystal Structure Determination or the more protein crystallography oriented but equally great beginners book by Jenny Glusker and Kenneth Trueblood: Crystal Structure Analysis -- A Primer. Once you have digested the Massa or the Glusker/Trueblood, you can work your way through the book edited by Carmelo Giacovazzo: Fundamentals of Crystallography.

After reading and understanding the Massa or Glusker/Trueblood and the Giacovazzo, you'll be ready to survive a discussion with any crystallographer any time. (What is more: you will enjoy the discussion!) The book by Gale Rhodes, however, will only get you over the exam and you'll miss out on the great fun crystallography can be.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not clear to me January 3, 2014
At first glance this book appears well-written and comprehensive. But many times I couldn't even get through a few pages without using external references to make sense of things.

I recommend Biomolecular Crystallography by Rupp as an alternative because it's self-contained and still easy to read.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "The" clearest one out there.... June 3, 2003
When it comes to this field of research, you get two types of references: (1) the 2-5 page quick intro that leaves you with the most basic overview of crystallography and (2) the 'hard core' books that go into such detail as to leave you breathless. This book is, in my opinion, the best transition book.
For non-crystallographers, this book will teach enough about crystallography to allow you to read crystal structure articles and understand what is meant by all of the used statistics and such.
For apprentice crystallographers, this is a wonderful intro into the field. Master the book, then move on to harder books to master it.
Highly recommended. I still go back to it, when I teach people, to help me explain in the way that Gale Rhodes does!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars An appropriate book.
this book will be of great use to me as a beginner in crystallography and help me with my studies.
Published 24 days ago by irene ogutu
5.0 out of 5 stars Clear and concise.
Clear and concise. Fourier transforms are kept simple, and you get babied into XRay diffraction. Would recommend this book to anyone interested in X-ray crystallography.
Published 3 months ago by Donald A. Szlosek
5.0 out of 5 stars Good book
I'm a biochemistry graduate student working on protein crystallography, this is a very good book to beginners, my advisor suggest me to read it and it's very good!
Published 3 months ago by Santata
1.0 out of 5 stars Printed text on some pages is yellow or purple. Ran out of ink?
some pages are printed with purple or yellow font. Very hard to read because of that. They should recall them.
Published 4 months ago by Andrey Kanygin
5.0 out of 5 stars Excelent book!
A "must have" item. I found this book extremely helpful for understanding the basic concepts of crystallography.
I gave it the top score of 5 stars
Published 8 months ago by Pablo Power
5.0 out of 5 stars Great basic review
Excellent book for those getting their feet wet starting crystallography. A good mix of basic theory and practical stuff. Highly recommend this book.
Published 19 months ago by J. DiNitto
5.0 out of 5 stars Well written textbook. Recommend it.
Topics are well described and also are well organized. Textbook have good illustrations. Studying at Biochem/Biophysics grad school and this textbook was a good introduction to... Read more
Published 19 months ago by yerdos
5.0 out of 5 stars Simple and Well-Organized
This book is great for people who are just starting biological macromolecular crystallography. It is detailed enough to familiarize the reader with the nomenclature, yet simple... Read more
Published on October 31, 2011 by ajym
5.0 out of 5 stars This book saved me
My lab is a crystallography lab. We call this "The Book" and hand it off to clueless new students who're starting to wonder just what exactly they've gotten themselves into and... Read more
Published on January 4, 2009 by Wandering Lab Rat
5.0 out of 5 stars Crystal Clear
The delivery was prompt and in the item was in an excellent condition
Published on January 16, 2007 by Nickolai Suslov
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