solid material whose constituent atoms, molecules, or ions are arranged in an ordered pattern extending in all three spatial dimensions
Maybe tomorrow when He looks down
Every green field and every town
All of his children, every nation
There'll be peace and good, brotherhood
Crystal blue persuasion. ~ "Crystal Blue Persuasion"

A crystal or crystalline solid is a solid material whose constituents, such as atoms, molecules or ions, are arranged in a highly ordered microscopic structure, forming a crystal lattice that extends in all directions.


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  • I feel like a white granular mass of amorphous crystals—my formula appears to be isomeric with Spasmotoxin. My aurochloride precipitates into beautiful prismatic needles. My Platinochloride develops octohedron crystals,—with fine blue florescence. My physiological action is not indifferent. One millionth of a grain injected under the skin of a frog produced instantaneous death accompanied by an orange blossom odor.
    • Lafcadio Hearn, in a letter to George M. Gould (1889), in The Life and Letters of Lafcadio Hearn Volume I (1906), by Elizabeth Bisland, p. 462
  • A crystal is like a class of children arranged for drill, but standing at ease, so that while the class as a whole has regularity both in time and space, each individual child is a little fidgety!
  • I shall never forget the sight. The vessel of crystallization was three quarters full of slightly muddy water—that is, dilute water-glass—and from the sandy bottom there strove upwards a grotesque little landscape of variously colored growths: a confused vegetation of blue, green, and brown shoots which reminded one of algae, mushrooms, attached polyps, also moss, then mussels, fruit pods, little trees or twigs from trees, here, and there of limbs. It was the most remarkable sight I ever saw, and remarkable not so much for its profoundly melancholy nature. For when Father Leverk ¨uhn asked us what we thought of it and we timidly answered him that they might be plants: “No,” he replied, “they are not, they only act that way. But do not think the less of them. Precisely because they do, because they try as hard as they can, they are worthy of all respect.”
  • Tyndall declared that he saw in Matter the promise and potency of all forms of life, and with his Irish graphic lucidity made a picture of a world of magnetic atoms, each atom with a positive and a negative pole, arranging itself by attraction and repulsion in orderly crystalline structure. Such a picture is dangerously fascinating to thinkers oppressed by the bloody disorders of the living world. Craving for purer subjects of thought, they find in the contemplation of crystals and magnets a happiness more dramatic and less childish than the happiness found by mathematicians in abstract numbers, because they see in the crystals beauty and movement without the corrupting appetites of fleshly vitality.
    • George Bernard Shaw, in Back to Methuselah (1921), Preface, The Poetry and Purity of Materialism, p. lxii

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