School Seminar Program

Akhmediev Breathers and Fermi-Pasta-Ulam Paradox

Professor Nail Akhmediev
Optical Sciences Group, Department of Theoretical Physics

When Fermi, Pasta and Ulam used the earliest programmable computer built on vacuum tubes for the first ever numerical modelling of a physical problem they were very much surprised with the result. As the result has not been explained, it was later dubbed as “FPU-paradox”. Although the puzzle was not resolved, enthusiastic attempts to find a solution resulted in major breakthroughs in mathematical physics.

One of the new branches of physics that appeared as a result of these attempts is soliton science. Many phenomena in optics, hydrodynamics, in BEC and even in quantum mechanics can be explained in terms of solitons. This branch of physics is presently enriched with the concepts of rogue waves and Akhmediev breathers. Expanding these notions into the realm of extreme events in nature and in a laboratory is a new direction of research in theoretical physics.

The talk will cover the history of FPU paradox and subsequent developments in theoretical physics. It will discuss the effectiveness of theory, mathematics and numerical modeling in modern science.

Nail Akhmediev is one of the leading researchers in theoretical nonlinear optics internationally. He is a Fellow of the Optical Society of America in recognition of his work on nonlinear guided optics. He is a winner of prestigious Alexander von Humboldt Prize for his pioneering contributions to nonlinear dynamics, the theory of dissipative solitons and rogue waves.  He is Chair and a member of scientific program committees for many international conferences and workshops in optics and nonlinear dynamics.

He has published over 300 papers in refereed international journals, more than 150 conference papers, several books including a book "Solitons, nonlinear pulses and beams" Chapman and Hall, London (1997) with Dr. Ankiewicz and several chapters in books.

Refreshments will be held in the Tea Room after the Seminar (around 5pm)


Date & time

Thu 17 Jul 2014, 4–5pm


Leonard Huxley Lecture Theatre


Staff, students and public welcome