Adventures in Order and Chaos: A Scientific Autobiography by George Contopoulos

By George Contopoulos

The box of Order and Chaos had a notable enlargement within the final 50 years. the most cause used to be using desktops, and the improvement of recent theoretical tools that we name now 'the concept of chaos'. the writer describes this interesting interval in a calm and infrequently funny autobiographical means. He relates his interactions with many of us in dynamical astronomy and he charges a number of anecdotes from those interactions. He refers additionally to his stories while he served in a number of overseas positions, resembling basic secretary of the IAU and chairman of the magazine Astronomy and Astrophysics. in recent times the idea of chaos has been prolonged to new components, like relativity, cosmology and quantum mechanics and it maintains increasing in just about all branches of physics. The publication describes many very important rules during this box in an easy approach. It refers additionally to difficulties of extra basic curiosity, like writing papers and giving lectures and the interplay of authors and referees. ultimately it offers a few beneficial customers for the way forward for dynamical astronomy and similar fields.

George Contopoulos, PhD U.Athens1953; Professor of Astronomy U.Thessaloniki 1957-75; U.Athens 1975-96; Emeritus 1996-; Member, Academy of Athens 1997-. vacationing Professor Yale U., Harvard U., MIT, Cornell U., U.Chicago, U.Maryland, U. Florida, Florida country U., U. Milan; Res. affiliate, Yerkes Obs., Inst.Adv.Study Princeton, Inst.Space reports, Goddard Flight middle, Columbia U., ESO. writer or Editor of 15 books, and approximately 250 papers on Galactic Dynamics, Relativity and Celestial Mechanics. Positions held: Gen.Secretary of the IAU; Director basic Nat.Obs.of Greece, Pres.Hellenic Astron.Soc.; Nat.Representative of Greece in NATO, and so forth. differences: Amer. Astron.Soc. Brouwer Prize; U.Chicago, Honorary Doctor's measure; IAU, Pres. fee 33 (Galaxy); Member Academia Europaea; affiliate Royal Astron. Soc.; Chairman of the eu magazine "Astronomy and Astrophysics"; Assoc. Editor of "Cel. Mech. Dyn. Astron."; Over 4500 citations and three hundred acknowledgements.

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I owe to Morris Davis also a lot as regards the use of computers. We had, first, a small computer, connected with a typewriter. When I wanted to calculate an orbit I was sitting next to the typewriter with a piece of graph paper. Every few minutes the typewriter would write the coordinates of a point along the orbit. I would mark the point on the paper and then wait for the next line. This process was incredibly slow. But even if I had all the computer results in front of me, the drawing of each orbit took several (3-5) hours.

He secured first a unanimous vote of the Organizing Committee of the Commission in favour of Contopoulos, and then he went to the Executive Committee and said: “The Commission will not accept another vice-president except Contopoulos”. So the Executive Committee accepted the verdict and I was appointed vice-president. Later, at the Prague General Assembly of the IAU, I was elected president of Commission 33 without any problem. The main innovation that Bok and I introduced in Commission 33 was a “long report” of the Commission, that was published independently of the short report, the one that was included in the IAU Proceedings.

The director of the Institute was Dr. R. Jastrow and he was very generous to me. He had two secretaries and a draftsman at my disposal and I gave them quite some work to do. Furthermore, he invited a young post-doc to work with me. This post-doc had done his thesis with Chandrasekhar on oscillations of incompressible stars. His work indicated the existence of a third integral in this case. We discussed what should be done to promote this subject further, but then I had to leave for Greece. When I came back one year later I asked him what he had done during the past year.

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