Alwyn C. Scott

December 25, 1931 - January 11, 2007

Pages under construction!

This page was created to honour the memory of Alwyn Scott, and his links with Scotland, with Heriot-Watt University, and with Edinburgh.

An obituary for Alwyn will be found on the Arizona Consciousness Studies web site, written by his son Alwyn Scott Jr. See also Alwyn's home page, which contains much useful material.

Scott, together with Chu and McLaughlin, 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 (PR A 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.

In March 1985 Alwyn suffered a major accident whilst cycling to work: a truck came through some traffic lights on red and hurled him 30 feet across the highway. This accident left him as a partial paraplegic, in constant pain, confined to a wheelchair for most of his life. He wrote movingly about the experience in this article.

Alwyn first visited Heriot-Watt in 1982 as one of the organisers of one of the first Conferences on Nonlinear Waves and Solitons. A photograph showing Alwyn with Martin Kruskal records the occasion.

Alwyn visited Heriot-Watt again in 1995 to attend another Nonlinear Waves meeting, which also involved a successful recreation of Scott Russell's soliton. Al did us the honour of carrying out the official naming of the Scott Russell Aqueduct.

I also treasure the nice photograph of myself with Alwyn Scott and Martin Kruskal following this event.

Maintained by Chris Eilbeck/Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh/