In the 1970’s colloid and interface science was actively studied by keen and successful groups operating on a national level, but there was no worldwide organization in this scientific field. Nevertheless, the need was felt for an international umbrella organization, which could secure the organization of recurrent international meetings, promote awareness and developments, support local meetings, codification of symbols, etc. Part of the initiative to come to an international society was taken by the Commission for Surface and Colloid Science of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry, the IUPAC. This however, was not an open society: members of this Commission were selected by co-optation. Very well-known scientists in the field had contributed to the commission, including Overbeek, Everett, Mysels, Lyklema and van Olphen. This commission did prepare the codification paper “Definitions, Terminology and Symbols”, which was published in the IUPAC journal Pure & Applied Chemistry (1972, 31, 579). On the occasion of the 29th General Assembly of IUPAC (Warsaw, 1977) it was decided to start an international Newsletter with the aim of promoting international cooperation in the field of colloid and interface science. Hans Lyklema offered to compile and edit this Newsletter.

The real incentive for the founding of IACIS came from Geoff Parfitt. In 1979, together with Hans Lyklema and Armin Weiss, he composed a draft constitution and proposed a first, provisional council. At the 3rd Conference on Surface and Colloid Science (ICSCS) in Stockholm, in August 1979, IACIS was formally established. Parfitt served as the inaugural President and brought together a founding group to consider the draft constitution and to plan future directions of IACIS. This committee acted as the first council and its members are shown in the picture below.

First IACIS Council. From left: Alexi Scheludko (Bulgaria), Boris Deryagin (USSR), Hans Lyklema (Netherlands), Tom Healy, Geoff Parfitt, Lisbeth Ter-Minassian-Saraga (France), Erwin Wolfram (Hungary), Per Stenius (Sweden), Armin Weiss (West Germany), Božo Tezak (Croatia, Yugoslavia), Egon Matijevic (USA) and Eiji Suito (Japan). Not shown are Alex Silberberg (Israel) and Gabor Somorjai (USA) as well as the secretary H.O. Becker (Germany).

The first council agreed on the objectives, still subscribed to today:

  • to promote international cooperation among colloid and interface scientists,
  • to encourage advancement and understanding in the field of colloid and interface science.

It was also agreed that these objectives would be achieved through regular international meetings, the IACIS conferences. In addition the Newsletter, of which the first two issues were made and distributed under IUPAC auspices, was from then on upgraded to become the IACIS Newsletter.

IACIS Presidents:

  • 2018-2021 Hans-Jürgen Butt, Germany.
  • 2015-2018 Reinhard Miller, Germany
  • 2012-2015 Kazue Kurihara, Japan
  • 2009-2012 Dennis Prieve, USA
  • 2006-2009 Björn Lindman,Sweden
  • 2003-2006 Brian Vincent, UK
  • 2000-2003 Dimo Platikanov, Bulgaria
  • 1998-2000 Ray Mackay, USA
  • 1994-1996 Anne-Marie Cazabat, France
  • 1992-1994 Bob Hunter, Australia
  • 1990-1992 Tharwat Tadros, UK
  • 1988-1990 Douglas Everett, UK
  • 1986-1988 Per Stenius, Sweden
  • 1983-1986 Egon Matijevic, USA
  • 1979-1983 Geoff Parfitt,UK