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The primary inducement for organizing an international Conference on 'Image Processing Techniques in_Astronomy' was the fact that the recording microdensitometer VAMP ('Vol Automatische Micro Photometer') of the Utrecht Astronomical Institute was operative for a few years. The necessity of comparing the in- strument and its performance with similar instruments nowadays available at many other institutes, was stimulating enough to organize a meeting on the above subject. It took place in Utrecht on March 25, 26 and 27, 1975. The Scientific Organizing Committee consisted of J. Borgman (Groningen), R.B. Dunn (Sacramento Peak), H. Elsasser (Heidelberg), L.D. de Feiter, T. de Groot, J.R.W. Heintze, C. de Jager, H. Nieuwenhuijzen (Utrecht) and W. Wiskott (Geneve). About 175 scientists from 14 countries participated in the meeting which appeared to be successful and offered a good opportunity of exchanging information and comparing experiences. The VAMP was bought with financial support of the Utrecht University and the Netherlands Foundation for Scientific Research (Z.W.O.). The conference was organized with financial support from The Netherlands Ministry of Science and Education, The European Southern Observatory, The Leids Kerkhoven-Bosscha Fonds, The Astronomical Institute of Utrecht, to which Institutes and Organisations we express our sincere gratitude. C. de Jager H. Nieuwenhuijzen editors PAR T WHAT INFORMATION DO WE NEED, FOR WHICH ASTRONOMICAL PROBLEM? ASTROMETRY K. Aa. Strand U. S. Naval Observatory Washington, D. C, INTRODUCTION Considerable progress has taken place in astrometry over the past two decades.
This publication, in two volumes, includes most of the scientific papers presented at the first meeting of the International Society for the Study of the Origin of Life (ISSOL), held on June 25-28, 1973 in Barcelona, Spain. The first volume contains the invited articles and the second volume the contributed papers, which also appear in the 1974 and 1975 issues, respectively, of the new journal Origins of Life, published by D. Reidel. A relatively large number of meetings on the subject of the origin of life have been held in different places since 1957. In terms of its organization, scope, and number and nationality of participants, the Conference celebrated last year in Barcelona closely followed the three international conferences held earlier in Moscow, U.S.S.R., 1957, Wakulla Springs, U.S.A., 1963, and Pont-a-Mousson, France, 1970. For this reason the first ISSOL meeting was also named the Ath International Conference on the Origin of Life.
Whoever wants to understand the genesis of modern Science has to follow three lines of development, all starting in antiquity, which were brought together in the work of ISAAC NEWTON, namely 1. Ancient Mathematics => DESCARTES 2. Ancient Astronomy => COPERNICUS : ~~~~ I=> NEWTON 3. Ancient Mechanics => GALILEO => HUYGENS In Science Awakening I (Dutch edition 1950, first Eng1ish edition 1954, second 1961, first German edition 1956, second 1965) I have followed the first 1ine, giving an outline of the development of Mathematics in Egypt, Babylonia, and Greece. Volume II, dealing with Egyptian and Baby1onian Astronomy first appeared in German under the title 'Die Anfange der Astronomie' (Noordhoff, Groningen 1965 and Birkhau- ser, Basel 1968). The volume was written in collaboration with PETER HUBER (Swiss Federal School of Technology, Zurich). HUBER has written considerable parts of Chap- ters 3 and 4, in particular all transcriptions of cuneiform texts in these chapters. I also had much help from ERNST WEIDNER (Graz), MARTIN VERMASEREN (Amsterdam), JOSEF JANSEN (Leiden) and MANU LEUMANN (Zurich).
Astronomy appears to us as a combination of art, science, and philosophy. Its study puts the universe into perspective, giving a sense of pleasure in its beauty, awe at its immensity, and humility at our trivial place in it. From earliest human history, man has scrutinized the night sky - and wondered and marveled. With unaided eye but perceptive mind, he recognized order in the regular appearance and movements of individual objects, such as the planets and star groups (constellations), in their rhythmic and majestic progressions across the bowl of night. Even in the present era of scientific exactitude, there remains a profound awareness of mysteries beyond our present interpretations. It is only in comparatively recent years, however, that man has recognized that it takes more than conventional astronomy to account for the beauties ofthe night sky. Radiations in the Earth's upper atmosphere provide a foreground light, the study of which has come under a new name, aeronomy. The science of aeronomy has rapidly burgeoned, and the student of the light of the night sky finds that he is involved in an interdisciplinary domain.
This volume contains the fifteenth tri-annual reports of the Presidents of the forty Commissions of the International Astronomical Union; it refers to the progress in our discipline during the three years 1970, 1971 and 1972. As compared to earlier volumes a gradual change in character is unmistakable. The ever increasing flow of publications, combined with the obvious necessity to keep the Reports at a reasonable size and price level has gradually forced the Commission Presidents to be more selective than before in drafting their Reports. I have certainly stimulated them into that direction - in order that Reports like these be valuable and lasting, it seems imperative that the individual contributions have the character of a critical overall review, where a fairly complete summary is given of the major develop ments and discoveries of the past three years, and in which the broad developments and new trends be clearly outlined, while at the same time essential problems for future research are identified. With respect to the latter item I have suggested the Commission Presidents to add to their reports a brief section on scientific priorities for future research in the field of their Commissions. In order to save space I have suggested to Commission Presidents that references to published papers are given on the basis of their number in the published issues of Astronomy and Astrophysics Abstracts. For instance, the indication (06. 078. 019) or (AAA 06. 078.
The IAU Symposium No. 55 on 'X-Ray and Gamma-Ray Astronomy' has occurred, not entirely by coincidence, at an important moment in the development of these new branches of observational astronomy. In X-ray astronomy the data from the first X-ray observatory UHURU have contributed to a new view of the X-ray sky and a new conception of the nature and properties of galactic and extragalactic X-ray sources. In gamma-ray astronomy the exciting and often controversial nature of the results underlines the importance of the forthcoming launch of SAS-B, the first orbiting y-ray observatory. As Bruno Rossi reminds us (p. I), the Symposium occurred almost exactly ten years after the first detection of the X-ray star Sco X-I. During this time we have moved from the detection of a handful of the nearest and brightest sources to the detailed study of the nature of stellar sources in the farthest reaches of our own galaxy and in external galaxies of the local group. The detection of pulsating X-ray sources in bi nary systems permits the measurement of pulsation periods, and orbital parameters with precisions comparable to any yet achieved with traditional observational techniques. The strong indications that most X-ray sources are extremely compact objects give us confidence that X-ray astronomy will playa significant and possibly decisive role in the study of stars near the end point of stellar evolution.
After the same pattern as the XIII th General Assembly of the International Astronom ical Union the present Volume of the Highlights in Astronomy contains the texts of the invited discourses given at the XIVth General Assembly held in Brighton, England, August 1970. It contains further the papers and discussion remarks presented at the six joint discussions, as well as the invited papers given at the special session on the Moon. In addition this Volume contains the papers given at the joint meeting of Commissions 24, 27, 30, 33 and 37 on RR Lyrae Stars. It goes without saying that the nearly hundred papers printed in this Volume represent only a minor part of all matter dealt with at the XIVth General Assembly of the Union; the many important discussions that took place in a few hundred commission meetings are not included. For short abstracts and reviews of these the reader is referred to Transactions of the International Astronomical Union XIVB. I wish to thank those who contributed to this Volume for the speed in submitting the manuscripts of their papers. This, together with the efficiency of the Publishers allowed for a rapid publication.