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A brief history of the ISP

The association known as the International Symposia on Polyelectrolytes (ISP) is a well-meaning group of researchers that carry on the tradition of promoting good quality technical conferences specifically focused on polyelectrolyte research and applications. The core group of founding members of this association met in 1993 at an American Chemical Society meeting in Denver, Colorado and formulated a plan to promote an ongoing biannual series of conferences. The intent was to fill a gap left by the recent dissolution of the Ion-Containing Polymers Gordon Conference series. The conspirators in this effort were Paul Dubin, Ray Farinato, Etsuo Kokufuta, Raphael Varoqui, Alexei Khokhlov and Herbert Dautzenberg. This core group, which became known as the International Organizing Committee (IOC), has changed members over the years due to retirements, arriving at the current composition listed at left. It has purposely been kept small to avoid having to create a structured organization, which was and still is seen as being unnecessary for its purpose and efficient operation. 


At various times, an International Advisory Committee (IAC) of well-known researchers in the field was formed as a resource to ensure that a broad representation of people was included in and invited to participate in the conferences. It has always been a goal of the IOC to have a good distribution of participation along global, gender, age, and career status lines. Efforts are always made to make student participation possible.


Essentially, the IOC encourages willing colleagues to volunteer to host a conference at their institution. Hosting a conference has the benefit of announcing to the scientific community the prominence of the organizer and the institution in the field of polyelectrolytes. The IOC acts as a sounding board and gives advice to the local organizing committee on special topics, potential speakers, and options for funding, advertising, and logistics. However, the composition and running of the conference is strictly in the hands of the local organizing committee.


The ISP has no legal standing and is comprised of volunteers whose only compensation is to see that the conferences remain relevant, professional and of high caliber.


For nearly 30 years now, the ISP has been achieving its original goal of initiating high-quality conferences in polyelectrolytes; a subject with many connections to other disciplines. The chart below lists the many people who took up the task of organizing these conferences, and the many people who gave their time to ensure the continuance of the International Organizing Committee.




Raymond S. Farinato (ISP secretary)

Columbia University



ISP2025 Galoá

14th International Symposium on Polyelectrolytes uses Galoá to painless manage and increase the impact of the event.

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