The chapters in this book are based on the keynote lectures delivered at the University College London (UCL) Open Science Meeting in June 2006. That meeting was financed by the European Science Foundation (ESF), with co-funding from the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme and Past Global Changes (IGBP-PAGES), who sponsored bursaries for young scientists from Developing Countries. I also thank UCL who provided conference facilities and Heather Binney and Mike Hughes who were the principal organizers. The production of this book has further benefited from the help of many expert reviewers, from Cathy Jenks who carried out the technical editing and from Heather Binney, my co-editor, without whom little would have been possible.

Finally I would like to thank all those who have contributed to the success of HOLIVAR (Holocene Climate Variability) over the past few years: to the Steering Committee, the organizers of the workshops and training courses, the tutors on the training courses, the participants in the workshops and training courses, the UCL-based administrators, Andrew McGovern, Heather Binney and Cath Rose, and the support team in the ESF, especially Joanne Goetz.

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