Heriot-Watt University

Department of Mathematics

Soliton Obituaries Home Page

Follow the links to get more obituaries, photographs, etc. Please inform me of other possible entries for these pages.

Martin Kruskal

One of the pioneers and champions of nonlinear science, Martin Kruskal died on Dec 26, 2006. He was famous for many things, but those in the nonlinear community will remember him best as the modern discoverer of the soliton, along with Norman Zabusky. Their pioneering paper (PRL 15, 240, 1965) and other later works opened up the whole area of integrable systems. His Wikipedia page gives many more details, the link above concentrates on his association with Scotland.

Alwyn Scott

One of the pioneers and popularizers of nonlinear science, Alwyn Scott died on Jan 11, 2007. Together with Chu and McLaughlin, he wrote the first review on soliton theory (Proc. IEEE, 61, 1443, 1973), which provided many researchers with their first introduction to the field. He also alerted the modern world to the then forgotten first observation of the solitary wave by John Scott Russell in 1834. Scott and McLauglin also pioneered the use of perturbation theory in treating near-integrable models (PRA 18, 1652, 1978). More recently Scott championed the idea of the importance of soliton-like localized processes on biological macromolecules, in particular the Davydon soliton. Throughout his life Scott published not just numerous scientific papers, but many books on nonlinear waves, neurophysics, and conciousness studies. Most recently he undertook the mammoth task of editing the Encyclopedia of Nonlinear Science. He was working on the final pages of a history of Nonlinear Science when he died, The Nonlinear Universe. See the link above for some photos of his association with Scotland.

Robin Bullough

Robin Bullough of the University of Manchester, died on August 30th 2008, aged 78. He was an early and enthusiastic proponent of soliton research in optics and other fields, giving many invited talks at meetings in the UK and elsewhere. His group made significant contributions to early work in optical solitons, and together with Phillip Caudrey he was the editor of one of the first books on solitons: "Solitons", Springer-Verlag, Berlin and New York, 1980, (Topics in Current Physics, 17). He also wrote a scholarly article on the early history of the solitary wave in fluid mechanics, "The Wave" "par excellence", the solitary, progressive great wave of equilibrium of the fluid - an early history of the solitary wave', in Solitons, ed. M Lakshmanan, Springer Series in Nonlinear Dynamics, 1988, 150-281. He was active until his death in a number of soliton-related areas such as quantum solitons, quantum electrodynamics, and Bose-Einstein condensates.
Chris Eilbeck/Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh/ J.C.Eilbeck@hw.ac.uk