Magnetic fields play an important role in many astrophysical processes. They are difficult to detect and characterize because often their properties have to be inferred through interpreting the polarization of the light. Magnetic fields are also challenging to model and understand. Magnetized plasmas behave following highly non-linear differential equations having no general solution, so that every astrophysical problem represents a special case to be studied independently. Hence, magnetic fields are often an inconvenient subject that is overlooked or simply neglected (the elephant in the room, as they are dubbed on posters in the XXV Canary Islands Winter School of Astrophysics). Such a difficulty burdens the research on magnetic fields, which has evolved to become a very technical subject, with many small disconnected communities studying specific aspects and details. The school tried to amend the situation by providing a unifying view of the subject. The students had a chance to understand the behavior of magnetic fields in all astrophysical contexts, from cosmology to the Sun, and from starbursts to AGNs. The school was planned to present a balanced yet complete review of our knowledge, with excursions into the unknown to point out present and future lines of research.
The subject of Cosmic Magnetic Fields was split into seven different topics: cosmic magnetic field essentials, solar magnetic fields, stellar magnetic fields, the role of magnetic fields on AGN feedback, magnetic fields in galaxies, magnetic fields in galaxy clusters and at larger scales, and primordial magnetic fields and magnetic fields in the early Universe. The corresponding lectures were delivered by seven well known and experienced scientists that have played key roles in the major advances of the field during the last years: F. Cattaneo, P. Judge, O. Kochukhov, R. Keppens, R. Beck, K. Dolag, and F. Finelli. Their lectures were recorded and are freely available at the IAC website: http://iactalks.iac.es/talks/serie/19. Together with the reviews included in the present volume, they form a unique resource for both students and professional researchers. They provide a global view of this very compartmentalized, yet fundamental, field of research.