Until recently B-spline curves and surfaces (NURBS) were principally of interest to the computer aided design community, where they have become the standard for curve and surface description. Today we are seeing expanded use of NURBS in modeling objects for the visual arts, including the film and entertainment industries, art, and sculpture. NURBS are now also being used for modeling scenes for virtual reality applications. These applications are expected to increase. Consequently, it is quite appropriate for The.N'URBS Book to be part of the Monographs in Visual Communication Series. B-spline curves and surfaces have been an enduring element throughout my pro fessional life. The first edition of Mathematical Elements for Computer Graphics, published in 1972, was the first computer aided design/interactive computer graph ics textbook to contain material on B-splines. That material was obtained through the good graces of Bill Gordon and Louie Knapp while they were at Syracuse University. A paper of mine, presented during the Summer of 1977 at a Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers meeting on computer aided ship surface design, was arguably the first to examine the use of B-spline curves for ship design. For many, B-splines, rational B-splines, and NURBS have been a bit mysterious."