I was interested in waves (particularly strongly nonlinear and shock waves) for more than 30 year of my scientific career.  This resulted in observation (analytically, numerically and experimentally) of a new type of strongly nonlinear solitary wave with finite length in granular chains (see relevant papers in  Publications).  I am still amazed with a mysterious self organization of the particles producing such a stable, beautifully shaped wave with compact support.

I also enjoyed exploring waves of big lake Hanka in Far East of Russia where I was born. I have spent there a wonderful summers fishing with my grandfather Andrei during my childhood and teenagers years.  Later in my life I started ocean kayaking and fishing in Southern Pacific around La Jolla kelp forest.  A power of the ocean expressed in its wave motion has a special beauty which makes us humble, especially when you are in a kayak a few miles out in the ocean.

Below is quite eclectic selection of citation from very different authors, from different professions and life styles, famous and not, and from very, very different times.  I deliberately put together scientific definitions of the wave motion and poetic expressions of great poets and philosophers.  The most amazing thing for me is that truly poetic words have a scientific sense as well as deep scientific definition is very poetic.  You may see it for yourself.   They tell us about eternity and about finite time of our lives and sometimes simultaneously about both.   I collected them for my own enjoyment and then decided to share with others.  If you read them all at once you will be able to feel that each of them is talking to another through hundred of years.  And may be you will feel too the beauty of the waves and their everlasting mystery.

Quotations from the Bible about waves
From James, 6 (The Holy Bible, New International Version):
“But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.”

Quotations from Poets about waves
William Cowper (1731-1800)
“God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants his footsteps in the sea,
And rides upon the storm.”

Joseph Edwards Carpenter (1813-1885)
“What are the wild waves saying
Sister, the whole day long,
That ever amid our playing,
I hear but their low lone song.”

Edmund Spenser (1552-1599)
“One day I wrote her name upon the strand,
But came the waves and washed it away:
Again I wrote it with a second hand,
But came the tide, and made my pains his prey.”

W.B. Yeats (1865-1939)
From The Meditation of the Old Fisherman
“In the Junes that were warmer than these are,
the waves were more gay,
When I was a boy with never a crack in my hart.”

Lord Byron (1788-1824)
“Once more upon the waters! Yet once more!
And the waves bound beneath me as a steed
That knows his rider.”

William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
“Like as the waves make towards the pebbled shore,
So do our minutes hasten to their end.”

Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1914)
“They take the rustic murmur of their bourg
For the great wave that echoes round the world.”

From Russian song:
“Waves are moaning and crying
And knocking on a ship’s board.”

Fyodor Tyutchev:
“The sea waves have a melody
And there is harmony in nature”

Shelly Bustamante (from “Chronicles of the Higher Seas”,
citation from the book Dynamic Behavior of Materials,
John Wiley&Sons, 1994 written by UCSD Professor Marc Andre Meyers)
" Soldiers who dream of wars
Mothers who dream of milk
Lovers their dreams are sweat.
But I, I dream of blue
Blue waves merging thought and skies
Blue waves drowing in the sea
Blue waves in your blue eyes."

Philosopher's quotations about waves

Aeschylus (525/4 – 456 B.C.)
From Prometheus Bound, 89
“Innumerable twinkling of the waves of the sea.”

Surfer's quotations about waves
From the Michael and Milton Willis Brothers, famous Southern California surfers

1. From La Jolla Light, Thursday, August 26, 2004, page 34.

“I was surfing before I was born, and I will surfing after I die.  Life is a cosmic wave that keeps rolling.  This is just a section of the everlasting eternal wave.”

“….Every single person is surfing, whether they know it or not.  They’re riding a wave in rhythm, in time and in a universal law.  Those who are aware have a much better chance of directing their energy to help get to where they are going.  Those who don’t recognize that they are on a universal wave are like unknowing victims in a riptide and out of control, destined to learn the hard way.”

“All of life’s mysteries, information and lessons are found within ocean waves, waiting to be discovered by the pure of hart….Even the smallest wave has the power of the whole ocean behind it.  If you can ride the smallest wave, then it is possible to ride the biggest wave.”

“The reason some people seem to excel in surfing and other life challenges is simple: love.”


Scientists comments about the waves

Definition of waves:
Wave (from Webster’s Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language)
“A disturbance on the surface of a liquid body, as the sea or a lake, in the form of a moving ridge or swell.”
“Any surging or progressive movement or part resembling a wave of the sea: a wave of the pulse, traffic waves….”
“A widespread feeling, opinion, tendency, etc.”
“A progressive disturbance propagated from point to point in a medium or space without progress or advance by the points themselves, as in transmission of sound or light.”
“at sports events, a momentary standing and sitting back by spectators  in a sequential, lateral way to create, en masse, a wave like effect visually.”

Waves (from Russian Encyclopedic Dictionary)
“Disturbances propagating with final speed in space that carry energy without mass transport…. Despite different nature all waves obey general rules.”

Wave equation (from Webster’s Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language)
“Any differential equation that describes the propagation of waves or other disturbances in a medium.”

From Encyclopedia of the Sea (http://science.howstuffworks.com/question623.htm)
A wave is "the oscillations of the sea caused by the wind blowing along the surface and moving in the direction in which the wind blows." The important thing to remember about waves is that the water isn't moving -- the energy from the wind is moving through the water. On the West Coast, the prevailing winds are behind the waves, which increases the waves' energy. On the East Coast, the prevailing winds blow against the incoming waves, decreasing the waves' energy.
"The steep shelf on the West Coast would cause a more abrupt buildup of the shoaling wave (so waves would be 'steeper' when they break). But the much longer fetch in the Pacific Ocean allows the waves to receive more wind energy, and so they grow larger. The swell arriving on the West Coast has periods in the range of 10 to 17 seconds (quite long waves), while the East Coast swell is more in the six- to 10-second range."

John Scott Russell (1808-1882) "Report on Waves": (Report of the fourteenth meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, York, September 1844 (London 1845), pp 311-390, Plates XLVII-LVII).
``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''.

J.S. Russel (1845)
“The wave motion is therefore a transcendental motion; …  the motion of motion – the transference of motion without the transference of the matter, of form without the substance, of force without the agent.”