José Enrique Moyal

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José Enrique Moyal (Hebrew: יוסף הנרי מויאל‎. Also known as Jo or Joe Moyal; 1 October 1910 Jerusalem, Ottoman Empire – 22 May 1998 Canberra, Australia) was a mathematical physicist who contributed to aeronautical engineering, electrical engineering and statistics, among other fields.

He helped to establish the phase space formulation of quantum mechanics in 1949 by bringing together the ideas of Hermann Weyl, John von Neumann, Eugene Wigner, and Hip Groenewold. This formulation is statistical in nature and makes logical connections between quantum mechanics and classical statistical mechanics, enabling a natural comparison between the two formulations. Weyl quantization is a synonym for "Moyal Quantization", or "Phase Space Quantization," and largely avoids use of operators for quantum mechanical observables prevalent in the canonical formulation. Quantum-mechanical evolution in phase space is specified by a Moyal bracket.

Moyal grew up in Tel Aviv, and attended the Herzliya Hebrew Gymnasium. He studied in Paris in the 1930s, at the École Supérieure d'Electricité, Institut de Statistique, and, finally, Institut Henri Poincaré. His work was carried out in wartime England in the 1940s, while employed at the de Havilland Aircraft company. He was a professor of mathematics at Macquarie University and a colleague of John Clive Ward at the former School of Mathematics and Physics, having previously worked at Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois.




  • J. Gani, "Obituary: José Enrique Moyal," "J. Appl. Probab." 35 (1998), no. 4, 1012–1017.
  • M.S. Bartlett, "José Enrique Moyal," "The Statistician," 48 (1998), 273–274. (Bartlett acknowledges how much he gained from Moyal's wide knowledge of the European literature on probability.)

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