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Biographical entry Moyal, Jose Enrique (1910 - 1998)

1 October 1910
Jerusalem, Palestine
22 May 1998
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia
Mathematician and Engineer


Jose Moyal, an engineer with de Havilland, England during World War II, was Reader, Institute of Advanced Studies at the Australian National University (ANU) 1957-1964 and later Professor of Mathematics at Macquarie University 1972-1977. He also worked in England and the USA. In 2000 the Department of Mathematica at the University awarded the inaugural Moyal Medal.


José Moyal completed his tertiary studies at Cambridge and in France, and worked for the Ministère de l'Air during the early years of World War II. He escaped to England through Bordeaux when the Germans entered Paris. Until he came to Australia in 1954, Moyal worked at the de Havilland aircraft factory and held academic positions at Queen's University, Belfast, the University of Manchester, and in the United States. In 1958 Moyal was appointed Reader in the Department of Statistics at A.N.U. and in 1972 he became Professor of Mathematics at Macquarie University. His early research was in the properties of rubber and rubber-like materials, and in mathematical physics including quantum theory. He was the originator of the 'Moyal bracket' in quantum mechanics. Moyal's main research was the theory of stochastic processes and its application to physical problems such as neutron diffusion and multiplication, and cascades. He published several influential papers concerned with discontinuous Markov processes and theories of population processes.


1954 - 1955
Career position - Visiting Readership in Theoretical Physics, University of Sydney
1958 - 1964
Career position - Reader, Department of Statistics, Institute of Advanced Studies, Australian National University (ANU)
1964 - 1972
Career position - Senior Scientist, Argonne National Laboratory, National Atomic Energy Commission, Illinois, United States of America
1972 - 1977
Career position - Professor of Mathematics, Macquarie University, Australia
Award - Honorary DSc. Australian National University (ANU)
Award (posthumous) - The Moyal Medal was first awarded by the Department of Mathematics, Macquarie University

Related Corporate Bodies

  • Australian National University (1946 - )

    Jose Moyal was a Reader in the Department of Statistics at the Institute of Advanced Studies based at the Australian National University (ANU) from 1958 until 1964. In 1977 the ANU awarded Jose Moyal an Honorary Doctorate in Science.

    Date: 1958 - 1977

  • Macquarie University (1964 - )

    Jose Moyal was a Professor of Mathematics at Macquarie University from 1972 until 1977; the Department of Mathematics awarded the inaugural Moyal Medal in 2000

    Date: 1972 - 1977

Archival resources

Adolph Basser Library, Australian Academy of Science

  • Jose Enrique Moyal - Records, 1944 - 1964, MS 045; Adolph Basser Library, Australian Academy of Science. Details

Published resources

Encyclopedia of Australian Science Exhibitions


  • Moyal, Ann, Maverick Mathematician: the Life and Science of J. E. Moyal (Canberra: ANU E Press, 2006), 194 pp. Details

Journal Articles

  • Gani, J., 'José Enrique Moyal', Journal of Applied Probability, 35 (4) (1998), 1012-7. Details


McCarthy, G.J. and Helen Cohn