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``Vi få ej välja ramen för vårt öde. Men vi ge den dess innehåll. Den som vill äventyret skall också uppleva det -- efter måttet av sitt mod. Den som vill offret skall offras -- efter måttet av sin renhet.''
It is a great privilege to have the opportunity to finish this work that is an attempt to provide a comprehensive compilation of material related to the Auroral Large Imaging System (ALIS). ALIS was conceived by Åke Steen, who had visions extending far beyond this work, and nothing of what is reported here would have been made possible without his vision, enthusiasm, stubbornness and ability to acquire the necessary funding. His efforts, however, would have been impossible without the altruism and excellent leadership of Bengt Hultqvist, who was director of the Swedish Institute of Space Physics (IRF) 1957-1994. Bengt Hultqvist also read a draft of this work and provided much valuable advice. I also want to thank the present director of IRF, Rickard Lundin, as well as Stanislav Barabash and Jan Pohjanen, for ensuring me the excellent undisturbed working conditions that enabled me to complete this thesis. Thanks to Ingrid Sandahl for taking care of ALIS since 2001.

To make a complete list of acknowledgements is virtually impossible, yet I feel obliged to attempt to list at least some names as representatives for a much larger group. I begin by specially thanking Lars Wittikko for many years of hard work in the ALIS project, and also as a representative of all those who deserved an acknowledgement, but have never received one. My apologies for those painful, but equally unavoidable omissions! I also apologise now if I have, despite my best efforts, failed to provide proper references and credits anywhere.

A very special acknowledgement to Takehiko Aso and Masaki Ejiri, for their friendship, humble attitude, enthusiastic support of ALIS, inspiration and excellent ideas that kept me from giving up many times. ``Domo arrigato!''

I acknowledge Carl-Fredrik Enell, Björn Gustavsson, Peter Rydesäter, Tima Sergienko and Asta Pellinen-Wannberg for their efforts with ALIS and ALIS data as well as for countless hours of proofreading encouragement and much more. I am also very much indebted to Carol Norberg and Rick McGregor who had the tedious task of correcting my English and also provided many valuable comments. I thank Lars Nilsson as a personification of those with the special gift of mastering the Art of computer programming.

I would also like to thank the past and present staff of IRF, ANS, EISCAT, ESRANGE, NIPR, etc. represented by this far too short and incomplete list of names: Vesa Alatalo, Nils-Åke Andersson, Göran Axelsson, Peter Bergquist, Göte Johansson, Hugo Johansson, Jan Johansson, Magnus Johansson, Christer Jure'n, Juha Liikamaa, Aarne Luiro, Torbjörn Lövgren, Mats Luspa, Arne Moström, Olle Norberg, Jonas Olsen, Walter Puccio, Markus Rantakeisu, Akira Urashima, Bengt Wanhatalo and Masatoshi Yamauchi. As representatives of the many co-authors and colleagues around the world I would like to acknowledge Viktor Alpatov, Laila Andersson, Anasuya Aruliah, Paul Bernhardt, Mikael Hedin, Ingemar Häggström, Jouni Jussila, Kari Kaila, Oleg Kornilov, Mike Kosch, Shu Lai, Hans Lauche, Thomas Leyser, William McNeil, Edmond Murad, Michail Pudovkin, David Rees, Mike Rietveld, Tima Sergienko, Mikko Syrjäsuo, Trond Trondsen, Bo Thide', Assar Westman, Ian McWhirter and Ola Widell.

Thanks to Trevor Preston, Maureen Ffitch and colleagues at AstroCam Ltd for valuable discussions and help regarding the CCD camera and its software. A special acknowledgement goes to all the thousands of voluntary programmers making up the free and open software communities. ALIS was funded through FRN (Forskningsrådsnämnden), NFR (Naturvetenskapliga forskningsrådet), Swedish National Space board (Rymdstyrelsen, fjärranalyskommitén), IRF and Vetenskapsrådet. Without the financial support of the tax-payers of Sweden, Japan and other nations, as well as other funding sources, none of this research would have been possible.

I would have been completely unable to finish this work without the music of Johan Sebastian Bach, Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Berwald and many others. Dag Hammarskjöld's book Vägmärken [Transl. as Markings; Hammarskjöld, 1963; Hammarskjöld, 1964] provided guidance and inspiration to carry on.

Ett alldeles speciellt tack till min mamma, Astrid Brändström, som ställt upp för mig mer än någon son kan begära. En stor kram till min fästmö Anette Snällfot, som tålmodigt har stått ut med många olägenheter på grund av mina envisa försök att färdigställa detta arbete. Tillråga på allt drabbades hon av korrekturläsning och tryckeribestyr. Tack för allt stöd och all uppmuntran, jag hade inte klarat mig utan er! Sist ett postumt tack till alla de som på många sätt bidragit till detta arbete men som aldrig fick uppleva dess färdigställande.

Björkliden i april 2003

Urban Brändström

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