IAU Symposium 262 presents reviews on the current understanding of the theories of stellar evolution, galaxy formation and galaxy evolution. It emphasises what we have learned in the past few years from massive surveys covering large portions of the sky (e.g. SDSS, HDF, UDF, GOODS, COSMOS). Several critical aspects of research on stellar populations deserve further effort in order to be brought in tune with other areas of astrophysical research. The next ten years will see the opening of major observatories that will increase the quality and quantity of astronomical data by orders of magnitude. The expected benefits from these instruments for the study of stellar populations are explored. This critical review of state of the art observational and theoretical work will appeal to all those working on stellar populations, from distant galaxies to local resolved galaxies and galactic star clusters.
Preface; 1. Physics of stellar populations; 2. Spectral evolution models; 3. Milky Way and local galaxies; 4. Early- and late-type galaxies; 5. Lessons from large surveys; 6. Galaxy formation; 7. The next decade; 8. Posters; Author index.