My first thanks are due to my parents, Abdel Hak and Janice Belkora, and to my in-laws, Judy and Chalmer Hans, for their loving babysitting. If, as originally planned, I had finished the book before Alicia was born, things no doubt would have been easier, but the book is better for having ripened longer, and I couldn't have done it this way without their help.

In the same vein I thank my husband Randal for his encouragement, support, and patience, which he gave tirelessly even when very tired from midnight awakenings.

I might not have started on the book in the first place without the advice and encouragement of editors Meg Tuttle and Tom Quinn. It was a great pleasure to work with them. And I found that, if one has a baby in the middle of writing a book, it is very convenient if one's editors become parents at the same time.

My "readers" did almost as much as my editors to improve the book. Thanks to my parents again, Lisa Berki, Clare Topping, Richard Riley (not the Honorable Richard Riley, former U.S. Secretary of Education, but the celebrated director of Cornell's Sage Chapel Choir), and members of the Cornell Campus ClubInternational Women's Club. Those teachers, mentors, and editors who did the most to stamp out my bad writing habits before they became ingrained are Burton Melnick, Judy Jackson, James Glanz, and Sonya Booth. Since this is my first book, I wanted to thank them here too.

For technical assistance I thank the librarians of the Cornell Library, especially Laura Linke and Nancy Dean of the Rare and Manuscripts Division. Staff members of the British Library, especially Michael Boggan, were very helpful in advance of my visit. Peter Hingley and Mary Chibnall at the library of the Royal Astronomical Society were very kind and helpful.

For help with various bits of research, much of it by telephone and e-mail, I thank Kathryn Kjaer at the University of California at Irvine; J P Hall at the Local Studies Centre at the Sunderland City Library; Arleen Zimmerle and Lorett Treese at Bryn Mawr College; Debbie Landi at the University of Missouri; Mark Hurn at the Institute of Astronomy in Cambridge, England; Lisa Brainard and Wilma Slaight at Wellesley College; Caroline Smith at Caltech; Keith Gleason at the Sommers-Bausch Observatory of the University of Colorado; and Mahmoud Ghander and Gail Archibald at Unesco. I am also grateful to Stuart and Alexandra Rock, Alan Batten, Brian Marsden, Owen Gingerich, Michael Hoskin, Tom Gehrels, Alan Harris, Mildred Shapley Matthews, Martha Haynes, Virginia Trimble, Barbara Becker, Patrick Morris, Stephen Pappas, Todd Huffmann, Don Campbell, and Anita Watkins. Any errors in this book are mine, but these friends and contacts all contributed to the accuracy and completeness of my information.

I thank my illustrator, Layne Lundstrom, for his patience and enthusiasm. I consider myself lucky to have found him when the manuscript was in the early stages. Last but not least, I thank my editor at IOPP, John Navas, who solved problems and expertly guided the book to completion.

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