Paddy Farrington

Emeritus Professor

I joined the Statistics Department in 1998 as a lecturer, and was appointed professor in 2004. I retired in 2015. My background is in pure maths: I got my PhD in set theory in 1980. After that I went off to Vietnam where I worked at the Foreign Languages Publishing House. There I got to know some doctors specialising in infectious diseases at the Bach Mai Hospital in Hanoi; I had no idea then that I would later work on statistical methods for infectious diseases. Back in the UK I worked as a maths teacher, as circulation manager for Marxism Today, and as assistant transport officier in local government. I got a job as a statistician at the Communicable Disease Surveillance Centre in 1987 and obtained an MSc in statistics at Birkbeck college the following year. The 11 years I spent at CDSC (now part of Public Health England)  largely determined my research interests in applied stats: public health, epidemiology, vaccines and infectious diseases.

I collaborate on research projects at the OU led by Heather Whitaker, related to the self-controlled case series method, and co-supervise one PhD student working on frailty models in infectious disease epidemiology.

Hardy is reputed to have said 'Young men prove theorems; old men write books' (women didn't feature much in Hardy's life, it seems). It seems my time has come:  I'm currently working on a book about the self-controlled case series method, with Heather Whitaker and Yonas Ghebremichael Weldeselassie. There's another one about epidemiological methods for vaccines in the pipeline. Though I do find myself wondering whether the world really needs any more books... At least writing them is quite enjoyable when it's too rainy to go up into the hills.

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