Solitons and the Ocean | Lecture

Tuesday 6th August | 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm

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kalish waves – Copy

Image of waves | Provided by promoter

Tuesday 6th August | 6:00pm

A lecture by Professor of Applied Mathematics Henrik Kalisch.


Solitons are single, solitary waves which can propagate large distances without essential change in shape. The history of the soliton is a story of contrasts, a story of slow progress and lightning speed, of high achievement and financial disaster.

Since their accidental discovery about two centuries ago, solitons have slowly but surely conquered the scientific world, making their way into mathematicians’ notebooks, into laboratories the world over and firmly into the imagination of a generation of scientists.
While soliton research is filling thousands of scientific journal pages year after year, the question remains: Can solitons ever get out of the lab?

In this lecture, we review various efforts to identify solitons in the ocean. We will follow the speaker’s own journey in the quest for observing solitons, answering Willard Bascom’s call to action: Should we brood over the inconsistencies of Nature?

“Never! Instead, we must become outdoor wave researchers. It means being wet, salty, cold – and confused.”

Henrik Kalisch, Professor of Applied Mathematics | Image provided by promoter

Short biography

Henrik Kalisch is Professor of Applied Mathematics at the University of Bergen, Norway. His research is centered on the mathematical modeling of nearshore processes such as wave breaking, surfzone circulation and wave hazards in the coastal zone. He has co-authored more than one hundred scientific publications in fluid mechanics, partial differential equations, numerical analysis and scientific computation. He is currently Deputy Head of the Department and co-editor-in-chief for “Water Waves: An interdisciplinary journal”, published by Birkhäuser-Springer-Nature.

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This talk is part of the Isaac Newton Institute Satellite Programme on “Emergent phenomena in nonlinear dispersive waves“, 22 July to 16 August 2024, run jointly by Northumbria University and Newcastle University.

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