Derek Abbott

Derek Abbott
Derek Abbott
Born 3 May 1960 (1960-05-03) (age 51)
South Kensington, London
Residence Australia
United Kingdom
Citizenship Dual British-Australian
Fields Physicist and
Electronic Engineer
Institutions University of Adelaide
Austek Microsystems
GEC Hirst Research Centre
Alma mater Loughborough University
University of Adelaide
Doctoral advisor Kamran Eshraghian
Bruce R. Davis
Doctoral students Mark D. McDonnell
Adrian P. Flitney
Other notable students Azhar Iqbal
Known for Parrondo's paradox
Influences Nicholas J. Phillips

Derek Abbott (3 May 1960, in South Kensington, London, UK) is a physicist and electronic engineer. He is a Professor of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at the University of Adelaide, Australia. He is notable for motivating theoretical work in the development of Parrondo's paradox, contributions to the field of stochastic resonance, and experimental contributions to T-ray imaging.


Early years

In the period 1963-1965 Abbott attended the famous Norland College pre-school, Chislehurst, Kent, UK, as a boarder. Then during 1965-1967 he attended Oakfield School, Dulwich, UK, at the same time as the singer Kim Wilde. In 1968, he attended the Ecole Seminaire de Collonges-sous-Salève (now Ecole Maurice-Tièche), France, and then the, Ecole de Ferney-Voltaire (now Ecole Florian), France. In 1969 he did a stint at Bassett House School, London, UK.[1]

In the 1969-1971 period, he was a boarder at Copthorne Preparatory School, Sussex, UK[2]. He attended Copthorne Preparatory School at the same time as the deputy editor of Private Eye, Francis Wheen.[1]

During 1971-1978 he attended the infamous Holland Park School, London, UK[2], known as the "socialist Eton." At Holland Park School, the singer Yazz was one of his classmates. Here, he was taught English Literature by the comedian Mike Walling and music by Andy Mackay who later became the saxophonist of Roxy Music. In the early 1970s he lived next door to Cat Stevens' drummer Gerry Conway in Holland Park, London.[1]


In late 1977, he began work at GEC Hirst Research Centre, Wembley, UK,[3] performing research in the area of CCD and microchip design for imaging systems. Whilst working, he graduated in 1982 with a BSc in Physics from Loughborough University,[4] where his key intellectual influence was Nicholas J. Phillips. In 1986, at the time when the mysterious GEC deaths started, he began work as a microchip designer at Austek Microsystems in Adelaide, Australia. In 1987, he joined the University of Adelaide completing his PhD thesis in Electrical & Electronic Engineering in 1995, entitled GaAs MESFET Photodetectors for Imaging Arrays, under Kamran Eshraghian and Bruce R. Davis.[5]

Honours and awards

Erdős number

Abbott's Erdős number is 4. His path to Erdős is as follows:

  • E. S. Key, M. M. Kłosek, and D. Abbott, "On Parrondo's paradox: how to construct unfair games by composing fair games," ANZIAM J., 47, no. 4, pp. 495–511, (2006).
  • M. M. Kłosek, B.J. Matkowsky, Z. Schuss, "First-order dynamics driven by rapid Markovian jumps," SIAM J. Appl. Math., 49, no. 6, pp. 1811–1833, (1989).
  • R. O. Davies and Z. Schuss, "A proof that Henstock's integral includes Lebesgue's," J. London Math. Soc., 2, pp. 561–562, (1970).
  • R.O. Davies and P. Erdös, "Splitting almost-disjoint collections of sets into subcollections admitting almost-transversals," Colloq. Math. Soc. Janos Bolyai, 10, North-Holland, Amsterdam, pp. 307–322, (1975).

Scientific books by Abbott

Popular books by Abbott

Selected publications

  • D. Abbott, "Keeping the energy debate clean: How do we supply the world’s energy needs?" Proceedings of the IEEE, Vol. 98, No. 1, pp. 42–66, 2010.
  • G. P. Harmer and D. Abbott, "Losing strategies can win by Parrondo's paradox," Nature, Vol. 402, No. 6764 p. 864, Dec. 1999.
  • J. M. R. Parrondo, G. P. Harmer and D. Abbott, "New paradoxical games based on Brownian ratchets," Physical Review Letters, Vol. 85, No. 24, pp. 5226–5229, Dec. 2000.
  • G. P. Harmer, D. Abbott, "Parrondo's paradox," Statistical Science, Vol. 14, No. 2, pp. 206–213, May 1999.
  • G. P. Harmer and D. Abbott, "A review of Parrondo's paradox," Fluctuation and Noise Letters, Vol. 2, No. 2, pp. R71-R107, Jun 2002.
  • S. Mickan, D. Abbott, J. Munch, X.-C. Zhang and T. van Doorn, "Analysis of system trade-offs for terahertz imaging," Microelectronics Journal, Vol. 31, No. 7, pp. 503–514, Jul. 2000.
  • A. P. Flitney and D. Abbott, "Quantum version of the Monty Hall problem," Physical Review A, Vol. 65, Art. No. 062318, 2002.
  • G. P. Harmer, B. R. Davis, and D. Abbott "A review of stochastic resonance: circuits and measurement," IEEE Trans. Instrum. & Meas., Vol. 51, No. 2, pp. 299–309, Apr. 2002.
  • A. P. Flitney, J. Ng, and D. Abbott, "Quantum Parrondo's games," Physica A, Vol. 314, pp. 35–42, 2002.
  • D. Abbott, P. C. W. Davies, and C. R. Shalizi, "Order from disorder: the role of noise in creative processes," Fluctuation and Noise Letters, Vol. 2, No. 4, pp. C1-C12, 2002.
  • D. Abbott, B. R. Davis, N. J. Phillips, and K. Eshraghian, "Simple derivation of the thermal noise formula using window-limited Fourier transforms," IEEE Trans. Education, Vol. 39, No. 1, pp. 1–13, 1996.

See also

Further reading

  • Who's Who in South Australia, Ed. Suzannah Pearce, Publ: Crown Content Pty Ltd., Melbourne, Australia, 2007, p. 1, ISBN 978-1-74095-142-5

Abbott videos


  1. ^ a b c Biography in Wickedictionary, CreateSpace, 2011, ISBN 1463668260.
  2. ^ a b
  3. ^ IEEE Trans. Instrum. & Meas., Vol. 51, No. 2, p. 309, 2002
  4. ^ What's happening in the IEEE, March 2005] Our newest Fellow: Dr Derek Abbott FIEEE
  5. ^

External links

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