quote:

*Originally posted by neilep*

Well Google has a lot to say about them...here's the very first link at the top of the pile http://www.ma.hw.ac.uk/solitons/ and this one http://physics.usask.ca/~hirose/ep225/animation/soliton/anim-soliton.htm ...

....... phew !!..heavy reading !!....any chance of a watered down explanation Science peeps please ?

Men are the same as women.... just inside out !!

I am not a physicist, nor a mathematician, and don't claim to understand the mathematics of it all, but do recollect reading about tidal bores, which are a particular type of soliton, many years ago in Scientific American.

One page which unfortunately no longer exists, but I qouted for someone about 2 years ago, was:

http://www.imm.dtu.dk/math_phys/Solitons.htmlquote:

The soliton is regarded as an entity, a quasi-particle which conserves

it's character and interacts with the surroundings and other solitons as a

particle.

You might also wish to look up the wikipedia page on

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SolitonAs I understand it, a soliton depends on the fact that waves of different wavelengths may travel at different speeds (as might happen in shallow water), which prevents the waves from spreading out.

Also:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Scott_Russellquote:

In 1834, while conducting experiments to determine the most efficient design for canal boats, he discovered a phenomenon that he described as the wave of translation. In fluid dynamics the wave is now called a Russell solitary wave or soliton. The discovery is described here in his own words:

"I was observing the motion of a boat which was rapidly drawn along a narrow channel by a pair of horses, when the boat suddenly stopped - not so the mass of water in the channel which it had put in motion; it accumulated round the prow of the vessel in a state of violent agitation, then suddenly leaving it behind, rolled forward with great velocity, assuming the form of a large solitary elevation, a rounded, smooth and well-defined heap of water, which continued its course along the channel apparently without change of form or diminution of speed. I followed it on horseback, and overtook it still rolling on at a rate of some eight or nine miles an hour, preserving its original figure some thirty feet long and a foot to a foot and a half in height. Its height gradually diminished, and after a chase of one or two miles I lost it in the windings of the channel. Such, in the month of August 1834, was my first chance interview with that singular and beautiful phenomenon which I have called the Wave of Translation".

Solitons exist otherwise than with tidal bores, but tidal bores are easier to imagine than quantum physics.