Professor Joe Gani, 15 December 1924 – 12 April 2016

From the AustMS secretary, Peter Stacey

With sadness I inform members of the death early this morning of Professor Joe Gani, a Foundation Member of the Society and President from 1978 to 1980. The following information was prepared by Sue Wilson and Alan Welsh of the ANU.

Professor Joseph Mark Gani (15 December 1924, Cairo, Egypt – 12 April 2016, Canberra, Australia)

Joe Gani was born in Cairo, Egypt on 15 December 1924.  He studied at Imperial College London, obtaining a BSc (hons) in 1947 and a DIC in 1948. Joe moved to Australia in 1948 and worked as a lecturer in applied mathematics at the University of Melbourne from 1948-1950.  In 1953, Joe and his lifelong friend Ted Hannan became the first PhD students in Statistics at ANU; they both completed their PhDs under the supervision of P.A.P. (Pat) Moran, graduating in 1955.  From 1953-1960, Joe was associated with the University of Western Australia.  Joe was a Senior Fellow in Statistics at ANU in Pat Moran’s department (in the Institute) from 1961-1964.  He then went overseas, becoming a Professor in the  Department of Statistics at Michigan State University from 1964-1965 and then Professor in the Department of Probability and Statistics at The University of Sheffield from 1965-1974.  Joe returned to Canberra to become Chief of the CSIRO Division of Mathematics and Statistics (DMS) from 1974-1981.   From DMS, he became Professor of Statistics at the University of Kentucky  from 1981-1985 and then a Professor in the Statistics and Applied Probability Program at the University of California, Santa Barbara  from 1985-1994.  Joe retired in 1994 and returned to Canberra as a Visiting Fellow in the School of Mathematical Sciences (now MSI).  Joe remained active in MSI until early last year when a bad fall reduced his mobility. Joe’s research interests included applied probability, statistics, epidemic modelling, biological models, statistical linguistics and inference on stochastic processes.   Joe was the founding Editor of the Journal of Applied Probability. Joe was elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science in 1976 and awarded the Pitman Medal of the Statistical Society of Australia  in 1994. Joe was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 2000.  He was predeceased by his wife Ruth and is survived by his four children Jonathan, Miriam, Matthew and Sarah, and their children.

The transcript of the very interesting interview (with more details about Joe’s life and insights into the kind of person he was) conducted by Eugene Seneta for the Academy of Science is available at

An earlier interview conducted by Chris Heyde is available at’


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