UK Nonlinear News, August 2000

Honorary Degree for Martin Kruskal

Heriot-Watt University awarded an honorary degree of DSc to the soliton pioneer Professor Martin Kruskal at the science graduation ceremony on 12 July in Edinburgh. Chris Eilbeck, Dean of Science, included a brief reference to John Scott Russell and the discovery of the soliton on the Union Canal near the Heriot-Watt Campus in his laureation.

Source: Chris Eilbeck

New appointments at University College London

Source: Sean Oughton (

David Wagg appointed to a 5 year Lectureship at the University of Bristol

David Wagg has been appointed to a 5 year Lectureship in Dynamics in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Bristol. Since completing his PhD at the Centre for Nonlinear Dynamics, UCL, David has been a post doctoral researcher at the Earthquake Engineering Research Centre at Bristol University. His current research work includes creating hybrid numerical-experimental models using real time dynamic substructuring.

Source: David Wagg (

Peter Ashwin appointed to a readership at the University of Exeter

Peter Ashwin, currently at the University of Surrey, will be commencing as a Reader of Mathematics at the University of Exeter on 1st October 2000. His new address will be:

School of Mathematical Sciences,
Laver Building, North Park Road,
Exeter EX4 4QE, UK.

Source: Peter Ashwin.

Control of Self-Organization in Nonequilibrium Chemical Systems

This joint research project is sponsored by the British Council (Hungary) and the National Scholarship Board of Hungary.

The project commenced on 1st April 1999 and will run for three years.

More details are available on the web page:

REACTOR --- Nonlinear Chemistry in Complex Reactors: Models and Experiments

REACTOR is a research network programme sponsored by the ESF in association with the research funding organisations of the contributing countries. The programme was launched on 1st January 2000 and will run for five years.

The aim of the programme is: the development of fundamental understanding at the molecular level of the processes leading to the formation of spatiotemporal structure in chemical and biological systems.

The Programme will operate through three linked themes:

More details can be found at the REACTOR web site:
and at:

The geometry of fitting sigmoidal-shaped nonlinear models

I am preparing a manuscript on the geometry of fitting sigmoidal-shaped nonlinear models. All of my data sets are forestry related, e.g., tree height-tree diameter, diameter, height or volume growth over time. When fitting these model function forms (e.g., von Bertalanffy, Chapman-Richard's, Gompertz, logistic, Weibull) I have found no evidence of local minima when plotting the error surface. All the surfaces appear to have a global minimum only. Most texts show one or more examples of local minima when a model is fit - using illustrations of an error surface or a parameter space - though I think many of these illustrations are stylized and are not based on an actual model fit to data.

I would be very grateful to receive one or more data sets from your readership - plus the model function form (ideally a sigmoidal nonlinear form) - that exhibit local minima and a global minimum when the model is fit.

Thank you in advance for any assistance.

Source: David J. Smith (

The email network of the Society for Mathematical Biology

If you wish to subscribe to SMBnet, the email network of the Society for Mathematical Biology, please send mail to with the following in the body of the mail (angle brackets indicate a variable and are not to be entered):

subscribe smbnet

The listserver will get your email address from your mail.

An email Digest is distributed to subscribers about twice a month. Submissions for the SMB Digest should be e-mailed to:

Information about the Society for Mathematical Biology, membership, education, employment, grant sources, etc. may be obtained from the SMB Home Page.

The SMB Digest is also available on the SMB Home Page and at

Source Raymond Mejia

Southern Bifurcation Meetings

A programme of four or five meetings on Bifurcation Theory will be held in 2000/01 with support from the London Mathematical Society under Scheme 3. This follows on from the success of previous Scheme 3 programmes on bifurcation and symmetry involving Southampton, Surrey and several other universities. This year new mathematical emphasis will be given to discontinuous systems and to numerical methods, and geographical emphasis will shift somewhat to the West of England.

The meetings will be held at some or all of Imperial College, Bristol, Exeter, and Southampton Universities with dates yet to be arranged. For further details and to put your name on the mailing list (if you think you are not already on it) please contact David Chillingworth at the Department of Mathematics, University of Southampton (; tel 023 8059 3677 ). Local contacts are Alan Champneys (Bristol), Hinke Osinga and Peter Ashwin (Exeter), Jeroen Lamb (Imperial) and Philip Aston (Surrey).

Source: David Chillingworth (

New web page for SIAM Dynamical Systems Activity Group

"[...] the new web repository for SIAM Dynamical Systems information [is] at

Please bookmark this url for up-to-date information of interest to members of the dynamical systems community. Alternatively, You may click through to our web site from SIAM's web page at We will use the web site to cut down on the length of Dynamics Notes -- for example, full details of conferences and academic positions will no longer be a part of the e-mail distribution, but will be available along with web links at the web site. A list of some of the upcoming conferences is given in Topic #3, as well as on the web site.

Remember that Dynamics Notes and the associated web site are forums for your communications. Send your contributions on anything of interest to the dynamical systems community to the email address ((and to! --- UK Nonlinear News))

This includes personal news about our members, conferences, mathematical problems, education issues, job/fellowship information, research announcements, plus other suggestions about what you would like to see appearing here. If you have links for inclusion at the web site, please send those as well. "

Source: Tim Sauer in Dynamic Notes 2000.01.

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Page Created: 9th July 2000.
Last Updated: 3rd August 2000.