Extreme events in nature, rogue wave in optics

John Dudley (Université de Franche Comté) — November 28, 2017

Understanding extreme events in nature is intrinsically challenging because the events themselves are rare, and often appear in environments where measurements are difficult. A particular case of interest concerns the infamous oceanic rogue or freak waves that have been associated with many catastrophic maritime disasters. Studying such rogue waves is problematic, and the phenomena remain very poorly understood. On the other hand, significant experiments have been reported in optics in recent years, where advanced measurement techniques have been used to quantify the appearance of extreme localised optical fields that have been termed "optical rogue waves". In fact, there is a rigorous analogy between the physics of wave propagation on the ocean and light pulse propagation in optical fibre, and this has opened up possibilities to explore general properties of extreme value dynamics using a convenient benchtop optical environment. The purpose of this talk will be to review these results in optics and discuss the impact they have had on oceanography. The talk will provide suitable introduction to aspects of ocean physics and optics, and will be accessible to non-specialists.


John Dudley is Professor of Physics at the University of Franche-Comté and the CNRS Institute FEMTO-ST in Besancon. His research covers broad areas of optical science. He was co-laureate of the ERC project MULTIWAVE and has won numerous awards and fellowships, including 3 Honorary Degrees, the Médaille d’Argent of the CNRS, and awards from SPIE, OSA, IOP and APS. He was President of the European Physical Society from April 2013-March 2015 and in 2009, he initiated the International Year of Light & Light-based Technologies 2015.

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