The biennial Charles Barrett Award has been established in 1986 to recognize outstanding contributions to the field of powder diffraction. Among recipients of the Barrett Award are the well-known names in the field of powder diffraction such as Juan Rodriques-Carvajal, Robert Von Dreele and Hugo Rietveld. This August Václav Petříček from Institute of Physics ASCR has received this award as the first recipient from the Czech Republic.
Václav Petříček, a well-known Czech crystallographer, graduated from the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics of the Charles University in Prague, and he has been working at the Institute of Physics since 1972. He has gained an international reputation for his works in the field of aperiodic crystallography and for development of the computing system Jana, which is with ~2000 users one of the most used tools for calculation of complicated crystal structures. The latest research of Václav Petříček concerns the solution of magnetic structures from neutron diffraction data.
The contribution of Václav Petříček to the development of the crystallographic computing methods has been appreciated by an invitation to give a lecture in 1998 at the occasion of awarding the founders of the theory of aperiodic structures with the Aminoff prize, by an invitation as a keynote speaker to the 20th Congress of the International Union of Crystallography in 2005 and to the 24th European Crystallographic meeting in 2007, by awarding a prize of the Learned Society of the Czech Republic in 2005, by awarding Praemium Academiae of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic in 2006 and by awarding the Golden Medal of the Pavol Josef Šafárik University in Košice in 2013. Václav Petříček has received the Barrett Award on 7th August 2013 in Westminster, Colorado, USA during the 62nd Denver X-ray Conference of International Centre for Diffraction Data (ICDD).
The Barrett Award honours the pioneer of X-ray metallurgy Charles Barrett (1902–1994) who was instrumental in advancing the use of X-ray diffractometry to characterize metals and alloys. He is an author of classical monography „Structure of Metals“. He began his career in 1928 when he joined the Metallurgy Department at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory. Over his career, he contributed his talents to institutions such as Carnegie Institute of Technology, University of Chicago, University of Denver, University of Birmingham, and Oxford University.
The method of powder diffraction originally applicable only to very simple compounds has improved its accuracy during the years due to steady instrumental development. Since the beginning of the 1990s it has been used with increasing frequency also to the calculation of aperiodic structures. Program Jana is being developed by Václav Petříček since 1984 as a universal crystallographic tool, and it was extended with the possibility to calculate powder structures in 2000. From the version Jana2006 the program also includes a unique possibility to combine single-crystal and powder data to calculate the structure of the same compound.