South Kensington, London, UK
|Fields||Physicist and Electronic Engineer|
|Institutions||University of Adelaide
GEC Hirst Research Centre
|Alma mater||Loughborough University
University of Adelaide
Bruce R. Davis
|Doctoral students||Mark D.
Adrian P. Flitney
|Other notable students||Azhar Iqbal|
|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.
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.
During 1971-1978 he attended the infamous Holland Park School, London, UK, 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.
In late 1977, he began work at GEC Hirst Research Centre, Wembley, UK, 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.
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.
Abbott's Erdős number is 4. His path to Erdős is as follows:
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.
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.