Adventures in Order and Chaos: A Scientific Autobiography

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Springer Science & Business Media, 2004 - Science - 191 pages
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The field of Order and Chaos had a remarkable expansion in the last 50 years. The main reason was the use of computers, and the development of new theoretical methods that we call now 'the theory of chaos'. The author describes this fascinating period in a relaxed and sometimes humorous autobiographical way. He relates his interactions with many people in dynamical astronomy and he quotes several anecdotes from these interactions. He refers also to his experiences when he served in various international positions, such as general secretary of the IAU and chairman of the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics. In recent years the theory of chaos has been extended to new areas, like relativity, cosmology and quantum mechanics and it continues expanding in almost all branches of physics. The book describes many important ideas in this field in a simple way. It refers also to problems of more general interest, like writing papers and giving lectures and the interaction of authors and referees. Finally it gives some useful prospects for the future of dynamical astronomy and related fields. George Contopoulos, PhD U.Athens1953; Professor of Astronomy U.Thessaloniki 1957-75; U.Athens 1975-96; Emeritus 1996-; Member, Academy of Athens 1997-. Visiting Professor Yale U., Harvard U., MIT, Cornell U., U.Chicago, U.Maryland, U. Florida, Florida State U., U. Milan; Res. Associate, Yerkes Obs., Inst.Adv.Study Princeton, Inst.Space Studies, Goddard Flight Center, Columbia U., ESO. Author or Editor of 15 books, and about 250 papers on Galactic Dynamics, Relativity and Celestial Mechanics. Positions held: Gen.Secretary of the IAU; Director General Nat.Obs.of Greece, Pres.Hellenic Astron.Soc.; Nat.Representative of Greece in NATO, etc. Distinctions: Amer. Astron.Soc. Brouwer Prize; U.Chicago, Honorary Doctor's Degree; IAU, Pres. Commission 33 (Galaxy); Member Academia Europaea; Associate Royal Astron. Soc.; Chairman of the European Journal "Astronomy and Astrophysics"; Assoc. Editor of "Cel. Mech. Dyn. Astron."; Over 4500 citations and 300 acknowledgements.
 

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Contents

A VISIT TO ISRAEL
55
FIRST IAU REGIONAL MEETING
56
CONTACTS IN ITALY
59
SERVICE IN THE IAU
61
IAU SECRETARIAT
67
VISITS TO THE USSR
69
TOPOLOGICAL METHODS IN GALACTIC DYNAMICS
76
THE IAU GENERAL ASSEMBLY IN GRENOBLE
80
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
126
INTEGRABLE MODELS
131
ESCAPES
132
POTENTIALS WITHOUT ESCAPES
134
CHAOS AND RANDOMNESS
135
HOMOCLINIC AND HETEROCLINIC TANGLES
139
HONORARY DEGREE FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO
142
DYNAMICAL SPECTRA
143

A SABBATICAL AT ESO
82
ASTRONOMY AND ASTROPHYSICS
85
TRAVELLING IN WESTERN EUROPE
89
DESTRUCTION OF THE INTEGRALS
91
SYSTEMS OF THREE DEGREES OF FREEDOM
93
BIFURCATIONS
98
THE IAU GENERAL ASSEMBLY IN GREECE
100
BROUWER PRIZE
103
VISITS TO ESO
105
TERMINATION OF SPIRALS AND BARS
107
FURTHER TRAVEL
108
ORDER AND CHAOS
113
RELATIVITY AND COSMOLOGY
117
QUANTUM MECHANICS VS CLASSICAL MECHANICS
124
DESTRUCTION OF ISLANDS OF STABILITY
145
STICKINESS
148
COLLABORATORS IN GREECE
150
COLLABORATORS ABROAD
152
OUR FACULTY
154
NATO
157
MOTIVATION
163
PAPERS AND REFEREES
168
LECTURES
174
ACADEMY OF ATHENS
176
PROSPECTS FOR THE FUTURE
181
References
185
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About the author (2004)

George Contopoulos, PhD U.Athens1953; Professor of Astronomy U.Thessaloniki 1957-75; U.Athens 1975-96; Emeritus 1996-; Member, Academy of Athens 1997-. Visiting Professor Yale U., Harvard U., MIT, Cornell U., U.Chicago, U.Maryland, U. Florida, Florida State U., U. Milan; Res. Associate, Yerkes Obs., Inst.Adv.Study Princeton, Inst.Space Studies, Goddard Flight Center, Columbia U., ESO. Author or Editor of 15 books, and about 250 papers on Galactic Dynamics, Relativity and Celestial Mechanics. Positions held: Gen.Secretary of the IAU; Director General Nat.Obs.of Greece, Pres.Hellenic Astron.Soc.; Nat.Representative of Greece in NATO, etc. Distinctions: Amer. Astron.Soc. Brouwer Prize; U.Chicago, Honorary Doctor's Degree; IAU, Pres. Commission 33 (Galaxy); Member Academia Europaea; Associate Royal Astron. Soc.; Chairman of the European Journal "Astronomy and Astrophysics"; Assoc. Editor of "Cel. Mech. Dyn. Astron."; Over 4500 citations and 300 acknowledgements.

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