John Scott Russell, Scottish engineer

John Scott Russell, Scottish engineer

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Credit: SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: John Scott Russell (1808-1882), Scottish engineer. During experiments into the feasibility of steam-powered canal boats Russell observed a prow wave that that, when the boat stopped, continued at great speed and distance without losing its form. This type of wave, which Russell called a wave of translation, is now known as a Russell solitary wave, or soliton. Later, Russell became the director of a ship-building company, and built the Great Eastern with Isambard Kingdom Brunel, the largest moveable object ever built at its launch in 1858.

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