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This book provides a clear introduction to topics which are essential to students in a wide range of scientific disciplines but which are otherwise only covered in specialised and mathematically detailed texts. It shows how crystal structures may be built up from simple ideas of atomic packing and co-ordination, it develops the concepts of crystal symmetry, point and space groups by way of two dimensional examples of patterns and tilings, it explains the concept of the reciprocal lattice in simple terms and shows its importance in an understanding of light, X-ray and electron diffraction. Practical examples of the applications of these techniques are described and also the importance of diffraction in the performance of optical instruments. The book is also of value to the general reader since it shows, by biographical and historical references, how the subject has developed and thereby indicates some of the excitement of scientific discovery.