The Museum of Chemical Crystallography

Chemical science in everyday life, discovering the relations between form and function of molecules and materials

Museo di Cristallochimica_2Sistema Museale Università di Parma

The museum of Chemical Crystallography aims at guiding visitors to explore Crystallography and Chemical science in everyday life, discovering the relations between form and function of molecules and materials.

The visiting itinerary shows, through specimens and models, that the study of the structure of molecules and crystalline materials enables us to interpret and understand the properties and the characteristics of food, drugs, technological materials and life molecules.

The Museum is organized in various sections provided with some information panels about the specimens hosted in a series of showcases.
The Museum, situated on the Science Campus of Parma University, was established in 2015.

It attests to the solid scientific tradition in the crystallographic field of the School of Parma, which represents an international excellence since the 60s of the last century.

Cristallo di QuarzoSistema Museale Università di Parma

Properties of materials

Why does ice float? Can a pencil be turned into a diamond? This section presents some examples of the relationship between chemical-physical properties and crystalline structure, for sodium chloride, carbon diamond and graphite, quartz and ice.Models belonging to the educational collection of the Department of Chemistry are on display and crystalline samples of materials as well.

Modelli dei Reticoli di BravaisSistema Museale Università di Parma


The symmetries of crystals can be described by means of patterns found either in natural world and in art. In this section are presented the educational wooden models of the Reticoli di Bravais belonging to the educational collection of the Department of Chemistry.

DNASistema Museale Università di Parma


How is the penicillin molecule made? Who discovered it? In this section we explain the role of crystallography in the study and design of drugs, through molecular models of drugs, proteins and DNA.

Cristallo di zuccheroSistema Museale Università di Parma

Crystals and food

Can you eat a crystal? Why does chocolate deteriorate in Summer? This section illustrates the role of crystallography in food, with molecular models and crystalline samples of food substances.

RiccioSistema Museale Università di Parma


What is the difference between a shell and a block of marble? This section illustrates the role of crystallography to study the phenomena of biomineralization, with natural and artificial samples of biominerals.

Quarzo AmetistaSistema Museale Università di Parma

Why is copper sulfate blue and rust red?

Minerals and crystals obtained in the research laboratories of the Museum illustrate the relationship among color, composition and structure of a crystalline material.

Sali inorganiciSistema Museale Università di Parma

Siluro_1Sistema Museale Università di Parma

How big can a crystal become?

And how does it grow? Here it is illustrated the technique to obtain a silicon monocrystall weighing 250 kg used in the electronics components industry and exhibited in the Museum.

Goniometro otticoSistema Museale Università di Parma

Beyond Chemistry

In this section some instruments belonging to the history of the Department of Chemistry are displayed: optical goniometer, single crystal diffractometer, precession chamber, cathode ray tubes and a disassembled next-gen detector for X-rays.

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