The laboratory of crystal chemistry was established in 1952. Until 1974 it was directed by Mikhail Aleksandrovich Porai-Koshits
(1918-1994). It was he who created the basis of the general lecture course on crystal chemistry at the department; he read this course until 1974.
From 1974 till 2005 the laboratory was headed by Petr Markovich Zorky
(1933-2005). P.M.Zorky, who was a student of M.A.Porai-Koshits, conducted systematic studies in the area of theoretic organic crystal chemistry, including the analysis of packings and contact conformery in crystals, the systematization of structural classes of molecular crystals and atomic radii; he studied non-crystallographic symmetry relationships in structures of polysystem crystals. P.M.Zorky was the author of the general course of crystal chemistry, which he read for more than 30 years for students of MSU and other educational institutions. His book "Symmetry of Molecules and Crystal Structures" (in Russian) became a major textbook for chemistry students.
In 1955 there was a reorganization of history of science divisions at natural sciences departments of Moscow State University, as a result of which the study room for the history and methodology of chemistry and the laboratory of the analysis of disperse systems, both of which were headed by Prof. N.A.Figurovsky, have been organized at the Chemistry Department. In 1963 both these units, which originally had an inter-division status, joined the Division of Physical Chemistry. In 1979 they merged with the Laboratory of Crystal Chemistry becoming its research groups.
At present the laboratory team is modernizing the general course of crystal chemistry and is finishing a new textbook, which was worked on by Petr Zorky in his late years. Besides theoretical analysis, the laboratory performs experimental studies of the structure of complex, partially ordered compounds and materials, using both its own equipment and the equipment of the centers with shared research facilities (including Kurchatov center of synchrotron radiation and nanotechnology).
A seminar in memory of P.M.Zorky was conducted at the Chemistry department in October 27-28, 2005. The staff of the laboratory has organized a school on synchrotron radiation (Chemistry department of MSU, November 10–12, 2005). Some materials of the school are available here