"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."
John Scott Russell
"A ›solitary wave‹ or ›soliton‹ is an example of an excitable medium which responds dynamically to vibrational variations in the environment as it travels forward in time. The soliton has, however, no memory, but it recovers its initial form after each vibrational interaction and proceeds in time as if it had never been disturbed or exited by vibrations from the past. When confined to a large cavity, such as the interior of a chamber hall, the soliton becomes a ›solitone‹, coherently interacting with itself in the form of standing waves continuously reflected from the walls of their spatial confinement. These compositions were originally scored for quartz crystals and analog electronic circuits. Corresponding digital compositions, scored for the first computer at EMS (SR’s digital electronic studio in Stockholm), were all given the title ›Fixed Points‹ (alluding to Brouwer’s fixed point theorem) and they initiated my concept of electronic ›Infinity Compositions‹, compositions without an end sustained by algorithmically controlled, continuous binary calculations."
from Revisiting Brouwer’s Lattice 30 Years Later (2005) by Catherine Christer Hennix.