Wood, Elizabeth A. | Crystal Orientation Manual

  • First edition of this introductory crystallography manual by the first female scientist at Bell Labs. As the author writes in the preface, “Many chemists, physicists, engineers, and technicians who are today confronted with the problem of obtaining a slice or rod of suitable orientation for their experiments have not had crystallographic training: it is for these that the manual was written”.

    Elizabeth Wood (1912-2006) was educated at Bryn Mawr, where she became an instructor in geology. Following teaching stints at Barnard and Columbia she joined Bell Labs in 1942 and remained there for the next twenty-four years. Wood’s interests “ranged from the growth of single crystals with useful semiconducting, lasing, magnetic or superconducting properties to the crystallographic investigation of new materials with unusual properties such as the exhibition of both ferromagnetism and piezoelectricity. She also worked on material phases that could be changed by the application of appropriately oriented electric fields and on the formation of new superconductors” (International Union of Crystallographers obituary).

    Woods was a highly respected scientist, whose advice was often sought by colleagues. She was also a talented science writer, publishing books for both popular and professional audiences. “Her reputation for clearly written texts spread as a result of her Rewarding Careers for Women in Physics (1962) and Pressing Needs in School Sciences (1969) published by the American Institute of Physics (AIP) in 1962. It became wider still with the publication of her Crystal Orientation Manual in 1963, which expounded the art and science of preparing shaped pieces of large accurately oriented single crystals for technicians... Five years later, her Science for the Airplane Passenger was published and proved very successful, appearing for many years in airport bookstores throughout the US and other countries. Her deep interest in improving the scientific understanding of the general public was recognized by the ACA’s establishment of an Elizabeth A. Wood Science Writing Award. Its purpose is to honor the authors of outstanding publications that bring science to the attention of the general public" (International Union of Crystallographers obituary).

    Wood was also active in professional societies, serving as secretary of the American Society for X-Ray and Electron Diffraction and taking the lead in its merger with the Crystallographic Society of America. In addition to drafting the constitution for the resulting American Crystallographic Association, she was elected its first female president in 1957.

  • New York and London: Columbia University Press, 1963.

    Ring bound. Original cream wrappers printed in black and green with an x-ray crystallograph. Diagrams, charts, and illustrations from photographs throughout the text. Old tape repair at head of spine, library ticket to tail of spine, ink stamp “Property of the US Army Redstone Scientific Information Center” to the inside of the cover, library pocket to inside lower wrapper. Wrappers toned and rubbed with some light marks and creasing and a small area of dampstain to the lower wrapper. Very good condition.