Joint Discussion 1 was supported by Division IV (Stars) and Commission 29 (Stellar Spectra), and co-supported by Commissions 28 (Galaxies), 36 (Theory of Stellar Atmospheres) and 37 (Stellar Clusters and Associations). Members of the scientific organizing committee were: N. Arimoto (Japan), B. Barbuy (Brazil), T. Beers (USA), J. Bergeron (Germany), M. Bessell (Australia), R. Cayrel (France), G. Gilmore (UK), B. Gustafsson (Sweden), F. Matteucci (Italy), P. Nissen (Den-mark), and M. Rich (USA).
The inspiration for this meeting was the growing overlap and connections between previously separate areas of astrophysical research, namely, studies of stellar abundances, the bulges of galaxies, the gaseous components of nearby galaxies and the clouds (some of which may be primordial) responsible for the narrow absorption lines in quasars.
The signature of the early chemical evolution of our Galaxy is imprinted in the abundance ratios of the oldest stars. We recall that element ratios are determined by a mix of the relative rates of different types of supernovae, the stellar IMF, and the relative histories of star formation rates and gaseous flows, and thus encapsulate much of the history of star formation and ISM evolution in galaxies. Hence, abundance ratios in stars are a primary probe for testing theories of galaxy formation and evolution.
We do not know how the Galaxy formed: both the Eggen, Lynden-Bell & Sandage (1962) and the Searle & Zinn (1978) scenarios may be accommodated in the recent proposal of van den Bergh (1993) where the inner Galaxy follows ELS, whereas the outer Galaxy formation conforms to the Searle-Zinn proposition. A combination of abundance ratios, ages derived from colour-magnitude diagrams, and kinematical properties, can give us the required information to trace the past history of our Galaxy. We note here, that although stellar evolution and model atmospheres are not discussed in the proceedings both topics are of fundamental underlying importance. Model atmospheres are used to derive temperatures, colors and bolometric corrections of stars that are used not only in abundance analyses but also in deriving the ages of stars by comparing CM diagrams with HR diagrams. This process is under close scrutiny because of the apparent difference between the ages of the oldest stars and the expansion age of the universe.