Our meeting occurs 35 years after the discovery of quasars, a discovery that transformed our concepts of active galactic nuclei (AGN), even though the connection between quasars and AGN was not clear at the time. We now consider quasars as the most luminous class of AGNs. Their great luminosity, which can be more than 1000 times that of an L* galaxy, is part of their mystery on the one hand, while on the other hand it enables us to observe them at the greatest distances and earliest epochs at which they occur in the universe.
One of the great values of this symposium is that it brings together people from all fields of AGN research and provides us with an opportunity to take a fresh look at the state of the field and the key research problems.
In this talk I will cover some of the highlights of quasar history as they apply to our topic and review the main properties of quasars as we define them today. I will discuss recent results in quasar research, especially those that bear on the relation of quasars to activity in galaxies. I will also describe some current research problems and consider future opportunities for the field that will be provided by large telescopes and the large quasar surveys that are under way.