Although this is ‘my thesis’, I am proud to say that the research presented in it was a joint effort of many people. I have had the pleasure to work with many supervisors, mentors, collaborators and helpful colleagues. In this section I would like to thank everyone that has contributed to the creation of this thesis, in English, so everyone will be able to read how grateful I am for all the help!

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Aknowledgements Adrian C. Begg