Science, Tech, Math › Science What Is the IUPAC and What Does It Do? Share Flipboard Email Print chain45154 / Getty Images Science Chemistry Chemical Laws Basics Molecules Periodic Table Projects & Experiments Scientific Method Biochemistry Physical Chemistry Medical Chemistry Chemistry In Everyday Life Famous Chemists Activities for Kids Abbreviations & Acronyms Biology Physics Geology Astronomy Weather & Climate By Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D. Chemistry Expert Ph.D., Biomedical Sciences, University of Tennessee at Knoxville B.A., Physics and Mathematics, Hastings College Dr. Helmenstine holds a Ph.D. in biomedical sciences and is a science writer, educator, and consultant. She has taught science courses at the high school, college, and graduate levels. our editorial process Facebook Facebook Twitter Twitter Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D. Updated January 05, 2019 The IUPAC is the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry. It is an international scientific organization, not affiliated with any government. The IUPAC strives to advance chemistry, in part by setting global standards for names, symbols, and units. Nearly 1200 chemists are involved in IUPAC projects. Eight standing committees oversee the Union's work in chemistry. The Role of IUPAC The IUPAC was formed in 1919 by scientists and academicians who recognized a need for standardization in chemistry. The predecessor of the IUPAC, the International Association of Chemical Societies (IACS), met in Paris in 1911 to propose issues that needed to be addressed. From the beginning, the organization has sought international cooperation between chemists. In addition to setting guidelines, the IUPAC sometimes helps to resolve disputes. An example is the decision to use the name 'sulfur' instead of both 'sulfur' and 'sulphur'.