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        Guest Editor's Preface: ULIA-2 Special Issue
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Abstract

As early as 1997, we decided to promote a short series of conferences devoted to a field that was showing dramatic progress and in which an increasing number of young researchers were participating. The Euroconference format of the “TMR Programme of the Commission of the European Union” was the most appropriate to fulfill the two objectives of a quasi real-time presentation and discussion of novel results and a tutorial support of young scientists from eminent lecturers active in the field. The success of the two meetings, held in two authentic capitals of the European cultural heritage, went well beyond any optimistic expectation. More than 200 enthusiastic participants, including approximately 100 young scientists, made those events a unique experience of scientific progress and debate. I wish to express my gratitude to Dimitris Charalambidis, who divided with me this experience, to the Scientific Advisory Committee, who guaranteed the high scientific level of the meetings, and to the Local Organizers, who made all this possible. The ULIA participants strongly appreciated the initiative of Laser and Particle Beams to edit two special issues with a collection of selected works presented at the ULIA meetings. Antonio Giulietti was the Scientific Promoter of the ULIA Conferences