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A soliton is a localized, non-dispersive solution of a nonlinear theory in Euclidean space. It certainly is a real object: you have a famous story about a certain John Russell who observed soliton-like waves made by a boat on a river (wikipedia knows everything about it!) The so-called morning glory clouds in Australia ...

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Where a string carves out a $2$-dimensional world-sheet and a point particle carves out a $1$-dimensional world-line of spacetime, the instanton carves out a $0$-dimensional world-point. Counting only spatial dimensions, a string is $1$-dimensional and a point particle is $0$-dimensional. By logical extension, an instanton has dimension $-1$, if we only ...

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Let me first refer you to three references pedagogically treating Instantons in quantum mechanics: 1)Riccardo Rattazzi's lecture notes treating instantons in nonsupersymmetric quantum mechanics. In these notes the anharmonic oscillator model is elaborated with great detail 2) Philip Argyres lecture notes treating instantons in supersymmetric quantum ...

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