Preparation of the 5th Edition of the IUPAC Green Book

The first IUPAC Manual of Symbols and Terminology for Physicochemical Quantities and Units (the Green Book) of which this will be the direct successor, was published in 1969, with the object of “securing clarity and precision, and wider agreement in the use of symbols, by chemists in different countries, among physicists, chemists and engineers, and by editors of scientific journals.” In 1988, it underwent major extension and revision and was given the simplified title Quantities, Units and Symbols in Physical Chemistry.

The 3rd edition (first released in 2007) and the 4th currently (to be released this year) have a significantly extended index that provides a dictionary of terms and symbols and useful conversion tables. Information in the Green Book is synthesized from IUPAC, IUPAP, and ISO. The 3rd edition has been available as a PDF since 2008. With this 5th edition, the contents will be again reviewed, to identify which aspects should be retained (e.g. should all the data tables be retained), what areas need to be revised, enhanced or deleted, and which topics needed to be added (e.g. perhaps less emphasis on data tables, and more information on NMR, nanoscience, computational chemistry and simulations, non-equilibrium thermodynamics and statistical mechanics etc.).

Digitally Native Book

The task group plans to evaluate the methodology used with the preparation of the translations of the 3rd Edition which created an XML version of the Green Book and tested the software infrastructure to use this XML version to derive the print versions. This would enable the production of more versatile Web based versions of the Green Book in addition to the printed book. This would also facilitate semantically marked up content very suitable to link to the evolving IUPAC Gold Book and provide an online resource to be used by others in generating correct text for other publications which use the material in the Green Book (i.e. symbols and units).

For more information and comments, contact Task Group Chair Jeremy Frey <> |

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.


Journal + Issues

Chemistry International is the newsmagazine of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC). News about IUPAC, its chemists, its publications, its recommendations, its conferences and the work of its commissions and committees is published bimonthly in CI.