Adventures in Order and Chaos

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For many years I was organizing a weekly seminar on dynamical astronomy, and I used to make some historical remarks on every subject, including some anecdotes from my contacts with many leading scientists over the years. I described also the development of various subjects and the emergence of new ideasindynamicalastronomy. Thenseveralpeoplepromptedmetowritedown these remarks, which cannot be found in papers, or books. Thus, I decided to write this book, which contains my experiences over the years. I hope that this book may be helpful to astronomy students all over the world. During my many years of teaching, as a visiting professor, in American Universities (1962-1994, Yale, Harvard, MIT, Cornell, Chicago, Maryland and Florida) I was impressed by the quality of my graduate students. Most of them were very bright, asking penetrating questions, and preparing their homework in a perfect way. In a few cases, instead of a ?nal examination, I assigned to them some small research projects and they presented their results at the end of the course. They were excellent in preparing the appropriate slides and in presenting their results in a concise and clear way.


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.


1. Years of study.- 2. Thesis.- 3. First Trips Abroad.- 4. Appointment as a Professor.- 5. The Third Integral.- 6. To the United States (Through Moscow).- 7. Yale.- 8. Chandrasekhar.- 9. Princeton - New York.- 10. First IAU Symposium in Dynamical Astronomy.- 11. IAU Commission 33.- 12. Applications of the Third Integral.- 12.1. Celestial Mechanics. 12.2. Galactic Dynamics. 12.3. The Fermi-Pasta-Ulam Problem. 12.4. The Störmer Problem. 12.5. Solitons. 12.6. Other Applications. 12.7. The Breakdown of the Third Integral. 13. Resonance Overlap.- 14. The Junta Period and the IAU.- 15. Second Sabbatical in the USA. The Density Wave Theory.- 16. A Visit to Israel.- 17. First IAU regional meeting.- 18. Contacts in Italy.- 19. Service in the IAU.- 20. IAU secretariat.- 21. Visits to the USSR.- 22. Topological methods in Galactic Dynamics.- 23. The IAU General Assembly in Grenoble.- 24. A Sabbatical at ESO.- 25. Astronomy and Astrophysics.- 26. Travelling in Western Europe.- 27. Destruction of the Integrals.- 28. Systems of three Degrees of Freedom.- 29. Bifurcations.- 30. The IAU General Assembly in Greece.- 31. Brouwer Prize.- 32. Visits to ESO.- 33. Termination of Spirals and Bars.- 34. Further Travel.- 35. Order and Chaos.- 36. Relativity and Cosmology.- 37. Quantum Mechanics vs. Classical Mechanics.- 38. University of Florida.- 39. Integrable Models.- 40. Escapes.- 41. Potentials without Escapes.- 42. Chaos and Randomness.- 43. Homoclinic and Heteroclinic Tangles.- 44. Honorary Degree from the University of Chicago.- 45. Dynamical Spectra.- 46. Destruction of Islands of Stability.- 47. Stickiness.- 48. Collaborators in Greece.- 49. Collaborators Abroad.- 50. Our Faculty.- 51. NATO.- 52. Motivation.- 53. Papers and Referees.- 54. Lectures.- 55. Academy of Athens.- 56. Prospects for the Future

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Adventures in Order and Chaos
A Scientific Autobiography
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Springer Netherlands
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