We now stand at the threshold of the 21st century having witnessed perhaps the greatest era of astronomical discovery in the history of mankind. During the twentieth century the subject of astronomy was revolutionized and completely transformed by technology and physics. Advances in technology that produced radio astronomy, infrared astronomy, UV, X and γ ray astronomy, large telescopes on the ground, in balloons, aircraft and space coupled with advances in nuclear, atomic and high energy physics forever changed the way in which the universe is viewed. Indeed, it is altogether likely that future historians of science will consider the twentieth century as the Golden Age of observational astronomy. As a measure of how far we have come in the last 100 years, recall that at the turn of this century the nature of spiral nebulae and of the Milky Way itself as an island universe were not yet revealed. The expansion of the universe and the microwave background were not yet discovered and exotic objects such as quasars, pulsars, gamma-ray bursters and black holes were not even envisioned by the most imaginative authors of science fiction. The interstellar medium, with its giant molecular clouds, magnetic fields and obscuring dust was unknown. Not even the nature of stars, these most fundamental objects of the astronomical universe, was understood.