Entrance hall of the ICMSCalendar Entry

May 10, 2017 - May 10, 2017
18:00 - 19:00


6pm, 10 May 2017
Newhaven Lecture Theatre
ICMS, 15 South College Street
Edinburgh, EH8 9AA
Tickets are free but should be reserved in advance.

A public lecture by
Peter Clarkson, Kent

In 1834, John Scott Russell, a Scottish engineer, naval architect and shipbuilder, first observed a solitary wave whilst riding on horseback beside the narrow Union canal near Edinburgh. Scott Russell did extensive experiments in a laboratory scale wave tank in order to study the phenomenon he had observed. Subsequently, in the nineteenth century French, English and Dutch scientists undertook studies related to the solitary wave observed by Scott Russell.

 It was not until the 1960's when scientists began to use modern computers, that Russell's ideas began to be fully appreciated. In 1965, Zabusky and Kruskal's numerical calculations led them to call these solitary waves "solitons". Subsequently it has been discovered that solitons arise in numerous applications such as water waves and fibre optics. Phenomena such as rogue waves (also known as freak waves), which are large unexpected, suddenly appearing waves that can be extremely dangerous, and tsunamis are related to solitons.

 In this talk, I shall describe some of the history of the soliton and illustrate some of the applications.

Doors open at 17:30. The talk will be followed by an informal reception to which all ticket holders are invited.