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IUPAC was formed in 1919 by chemists from industry and academia, who recognized the need for international standardization in chemistry. The standardization of weights, measures, names and symbols is essential to the well being and continued success of the scientific enterprise and to the smooth development and growth of international trade and commerce.This desire for international cooperation among chemists and facilitation of the work of the international, but fragmented, chemistry community were the earliest characteristics of the Union. Even before the creation of IUPAC (1919), a predecessor body, the International Association of Chemical Societies (IACS), had met in Paris in 1911 and produced a set of proposals for the work that the new Association should address. These included:•Nomenclature of inorganic and organic chemistry; •Standardization of atomic weights; •Standardization of physical constants; •Editing tables of properties of matter; •Establishing a commission for the review of work; •Standardization of the formats of publications; •Measures required to prevent repetition of the same papers. Although 1911 might now seem an early date for chemists to start talking about the possibility of and need for international collaboration and standardization, the first international attempt at organizing organic chemical nomenclature -- the Geneva Nomenclature of 1892 -- grew out of a series of international meetings, the first of which was organized by Kekulé in 1860.