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The First International Symposium on Urolithiasis Research was held in Leeds, England, in 1968. Drs. B. E. C. Nordin and A. Hodgkinson called one hundred and five participants from continental Europe, Great Britain, and the United States to review their work and exchange ideas regarding the formation of urinary calculi.

This meeting achieved several important goals. It pulled together a nidus of workers in the many scientific disciplines that relate to urolithiasis. This nidus served as the seed for research growth in a complex, interdisciplinary field. It established a forum for continuing communication in urolithiasis research with subsequent symposia being held every 4 years.

Since its inception the series has threaded a peripatetic course back and forth across the Atlantic Ocean, from Madrid in Spain, to Davos in Switzerland, to Williamsburg in the USA, to Garmisch-Partenkirchen in Germany and Vancouver in Canada, under the chairmanship of Drs Nordin, Cifuentes Delatte and Rapado, Fleisch, Smith, Schwille, Dirks and Sutton. In 1992, for the first time, the meeting moved to the southern hemisphere, to Cairns in Northeastern Australia.

Then the venue of the conference traveled around the world reaching all the other continents (Hong Kong, Cape Town, Ouro Preto, Tokyo) and returning once to the United States (Dallas) and another to Europe (Nice).

The meetings covered many aspects of urolithiasis including the underlying physiology, crystal formation and the effects of inhibitors and promoters on crystallization, endocrinology and abnormalities of urinary composition, analyses, geography and epidemiology, and medical and surgical treatment.