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The authors call far-infrared (FIR), the part of the electromagnetic (EM.) spectrum ranging from 30 /spl mu/m to 1000/spl mu/m. A short history of 50 years of research in the far infrared (1952-2002) is considered now that the field has progressed so much. It is possible to write this story from published documents and from memory of the major events. It is supplemented by some souvenirs.