How it began

The great success of the Varenna Summer School on the “Physics of amphiphiles: micelles, vesicles and microemulsions” in 1983 organised by Vittorio Degiorgio and myself, along with the editing work of its 750 pages proceedings, convinced us that Colloid Science was an interesting field of research with new opportunities for people in physics, chemistry, biology and technology. 
    The idea that Colloid and Interface Science could deserve an autonomous organisation on a European basis, with the aim to promote and stimulate the exchange of information among scientist of all European countries, was formulated by Vittorio Degiorgio (Pavia, Italy), Heinz Hoffmann (Bayreuth, Germany) and Bjorn Lindman (Lund, Sweden) during their return trip from the IUPAC conference held in Manchester on September 1985. This idea found the enthusiastic support of many colleagues, including myself and Pierre Bothorel (Bordeaux, France). 
    Altogether we decided that it was good to organise a Workshop with the aim to test the feelings of the people active in the field. The first suggestion was to organise it in Varenna on Lake Como, just to take advantage of the fame of the successful School. Eventually, we preferred to locate it in Como, town easy to reach by train from central Europe. Vittorio Degiorgio and myself both provided all the organising work and obtained some local financial support, so that we could have the European Workshop “New Trends in Colloid Science” (Villa Olmo, Como, Italy 1–3 October 1986) free of subscription fees, with free lunches and free conference dinner. “Discussion about the Foundation of a European Colloid Society” ECOS (see picture) was part of the program. 
    A steering committee, formed by Vittorio Degiorgio, Heinz Hoffmann and Bjorn Lindman, prepared a draft of the statutes and by-laws of ECOS. More than one hundred people attended the Workshop. In the afternoon of October 3, 1986, the Society was founded. That day, the initial name of ECOS was changed into ECIS (European Colloid and Interface Society) and the first general assembly of ECIS was held. The steering committee ceased to operate and the first Council of ECIS was elected: Heinz Hoffmann, Pierre Bothorel and myself. The ECIS Secretariat was initially established in Lund at Bjorn Lindman Institute and successively in Bayreuth at Heinz Hoffmann Institute. 
    The first Conference of ECIS was scheduled for the following year again in Como(September 2-4, 1987), organised by Vittorio Degiorgio and myself. Again no subscription fees were asked.

Mario Corti
Dipartimento di Chimica, Biochimica e Biotecnologie per la Medicina
Universita` degli Studi di Milano
L.I.T.A. via Fratelli Cervi 93
20090 SEGRATE (Milano), Italy