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Wednesday 30th July 2014


Water waves are a dramatic phenomenon that can impact every aspect of life on the planet. At smaller length scales the ripples driven by surface tension affect remote sensing. At intermediate length scales waves in the mid-ocean affect shipping and near the shoreline they control the coastal morphology and the ability to navigate along shore. At larger length scales waves such as tsunamis and hurricane-generated waves can cause devastation on a global scale.

From a mathematical viewpoint water waves pose challenges. The governing equations for water waves are a widely accepted model and they have been the subject of a wide range of research. However, the equations are highly nonlinear and the level of difficulty is so great that theory has yet to scratch the surface of the subject. The solutions to the equations that describe fluid motion are elusive and whether they even exist in the most general case is one of the most difficult unanswered questions in mathematics. New methodologies are emerging, computational approaches are becoming much more sophisticated and the number of researchers at the highest international level involved is growing.



This Open for Business half day event was part of an Isaac Newton Institute research programme which brought together leading expertise in the multiple disciplines involved in the theory of water waves. This event was structured to enable the formation of new relationships on the business-academic interface and to assist in identifying the common challenges that have greatest potential for research, knowledge transfer, public policy and commercial impact.

A key aim of this workshop was to highlight how the theory of water waves can impact on technology developments and deployment within industries such as:


  • Offshore Renewable Energy
  • Oceanic Vehicles/Shipping
  • Offshore Oil and Gas Exploration


The talks explored how new theories are being developed and highlighted the mathematical models which are being created to help test efficiencies.

Those taking part learnt about the latest models and techniques being developed and how these translate to possible end user applications. There were opportunities for networking and investigating of potential collaborations and the afternoon finished with a facilitated discussion session, followed by a drinks reception.