Derek Abbott: Wikis

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Derek Abbott

Born 3 May 1960 (1960-05-03) (age 49)
South Kensington, London, UK
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
Stochastics
T-rays
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 leading theoretical work in the development of Parrondo's paradox, contributions to the field of stochastic resonance, and experimental contributions to T-ray imaging.

Contents

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.

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

During 1971-1978 he attended the infamous Holland Park School, London, UK[1], 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.

Career

In late 1977, he began work at GEC Hirst Research Centre, Wembley, UK[2], 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, 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.[3]

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Teaching

He is currently a full professor at the University of Adelaide, where he has won a number of teaching awards. In the late 1990s, Abbott wore two watches, one on each wrist. When asked why, he would reply, "It is a way of identifying the best students—to check their powers of observation." In the 1990s, during undergraduate lectures, if a student raised a hand and spotted a mistake in the lecture material, Abbott would open his wallet and give the student the lowest coin or note that he happened to be carrying. On occasion, if he forgot to bring coins, he had to part with a high denomination. Around 1998, he also adopted the same prize money approach for the "most perceptive question" asked in a lecture.[4]

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 genealogy

Abbott's scientific genealogy[3] via his primary doctoral advisor runs as follows:

Humour

In 1999, Cosma Shalizi, at the Santa Fe Institute, made a bet that if Abbott included the name "Monica Lewinsky" in a published scientific journal article he would pay for one beer. Abbott successfully met the challenge, in a paper on game theory, published in the Chaos journal.[5]

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

Notes

External links


Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Efficiency is not the issue when you go solar. There is so much solar that all you have to do is invest in the non-recurring cost of more dishes to drive a solar-hydrogen economy at whatever efficiency it happens to sit at.

Derek Abbott (born May 3, 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 leading theoretical work in the development of Parrondo's paradox, contributions to the field of stochastic resonance, and experimental contributions to T-ray imaging.

Sourced

  • ... my advice to all students is to question everything! You never know where a "silly question" may lead you.
    • in his profile. The University of Adelaide.
  • My advice to prospective PhD students is to follow your passion and pick a topic that interests you—don't do a PhD topic that you hate, but you think will be lucrative. Because the big picture is that it is the fundamentals learned and problem solving skills gained from your PhD that will open the real career doors. Topics come in and out of fashion—it is the investment in yourself and the person you become through your PhD experience that really matters in the end. Of course, if you happen to love a topic that turns out lucrative then great—but this is hard to predict.
    • in his profile. The University of Adelaide.

On energy supply and solar power

  • My starting point is as an academic who always thought nuclear was the answer, but who then looked at the figures and came to an inescapable conclusion that solar-hydrogen is the long-term future. I did not come at this as a green evangelist. I am a reluctant convert. [1]
  • One can justify solar-hydrogen simply on grounds of economic resource viability without any green agenda. [2]
  • The fact that there simply is 5,000 times more sun power than our consumption needs makes me very optimistic. It's a fantastic resource. We have the ingenuity to send man to the moon, so we definitively have the ingenuity to tap the sun's resources. [3]
  • The biggest challenge [for solar power] is escaping from the economic effects of vendor lock-in where large investments in nuclear and traditional energy sources keep us 'locked-in' to feeding monsters that will bring us down an economic black hole. It's rather like the play The Little Shop of Horrors where a man-eating plant is initially fed small amounts, but then its voracious appetite sends it into a downward spiral swallowing up anyone that gets in its way. [4]
  • Efficiency is not the issue when you go solar. There is so much solar that all you have to do is invest in the non-recurring cost of more dishes to drive a solar-hydrogen economy at whatever efficiency it happens to sit at. [5]

External links

Wikipedia
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