James D. Murray

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James Murray
Born James Dickson Murray
(1931-01-02) 2 January 1931 (age 91)[1]
Alma mater University of St Andrews
Doctoral advisor Andrew Ronald Mitchell[2]
Doctoral students
  • Phillip Arcuri
  • D. Baldwin
  • Daniel Bentil
  • Nicholas Britton
  • Meghan Burke
  • Jacqueline Cohen
  • Julian Cook
  • David Crawford
  • Gerhard Cruywagen
  • Martin Duffy
  • Richard Gibbs
  • Trachette Jackson
  • Michael Jenkins
  • Paul Kulesa
  • David Lane
  • Mark Lewis
  • Gwen Littlewort
  • Philip Maini
  • Daphne Manoussaki
  • Peter Mitchell
  • Mary Myerscough
  • Patrick Nelson
  • Terry Paton
  • Louisa Shaw
  • Jonathan Sherratt
  • Kristin Swanson
  • Terry Tranen
  • Rebecca Tyson
  • Katrin White
  • Stephen Wilmott
  • Mei Zhu[2]
Notable awards FRS (1985)[3]

James Dickson Murray FRS, (born Moffat, Scotland, 2 January 1931) is professor emeritus of applied mathematics at University of Washington and University of Oxford. He is best known for his authoritative and extensive work entitled Mathematical Biology, recently re-edited.


Educated at St. Andrews University, where he received with honours a bachelor's degree in mathematics in 1953, he took his PhD there in 1956.

Research and career

His first post was at the University of Durham, UK; later he has held positions at Harvard University, London and Oxford, becoming professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Michigan in 1965, at the age of 34.

He later became professor of mathematical biology at the University of Oxford, a fellow and tutor in mathematics at Corpus Christi College, Oxford and founder and director of the Centre for Mathematical Biology. He left Oxford in the late 1980s for the University of Washington in Seattle, where he spent the rest of his career as professor of mathematics and adjunct professor of zoology.

His research is characterised by its great range and depth: an early example is his fundamental contributions to understanding the biomechanics of the human body when launched from an aircraft in an ejection seat. He has made contributions to many other areas, ranging from understanding and preventing severe scarring; fingerprint formation; sex determination, modeling of animal coat and territory formation in wolf-deer interacting populations.

Selected publications

  • Mathematical Biology. 3rd edition in 2 volumes: Mathematical Biology: I. An Introduction (551 pages) 2002; Mathematical Biology: II. Spatial Models and Biomedical Applications (811 pages) 2003 (second printings 2004).
  • Glioblastoma brain tumours: estimating the time from brain tumour initiation and resolution of a patient survival anomaly after similar treatment protocols, J. Biol. Dyn., 6:sup2, 118-127, 2012.
  • Why Are There No 3-Headed Monsters? Mathematical Modeling in Biology. Notices of the Amer. Math. Soc.. June/July, 785-795, 2012.
  • On the mechanochemical theory of biological pattern formation with application to vasculogenesis. Comptes Rendus Acad. Sci. Paris (Biologies) 326: 239-252, 2003.
  • Vignettes from the field of mathematical biology - the application of mathematics to biology and medicine. Phil. Trans. Roy. Soc. Interface Focus 2012. doi: 10.1098/rsfs.2011.0102.
  • On the use of quantitative modeling to help understand PSA dynamics and other medical problems (with K.R. Swanson and L.D. True). Amer. J. Clin. Pathol., 119(1):14-7, 2003.
  • Virtual and real brain tumors: using mathematical modeling to quantify glioma growth and invasion (with K.R. Swanson, C. Bridge, and E.C. Alvord), Journal of the Neurological Sciences, 216(1):1-10, 2003.
  • Virtual brain tumors (gliomas) enhance the reality of medical imaging and highlight inadequacies of current therapy (with K.R. Swanson and E.C. Alvord). British J. Cancer 86: 14-18, 2002. [Abstracted for inclusion in the 2003 Yearbook of the Institute of Oncology]
  • Pattern formation, biological. In: The Handbook of Brain Theory and Neural Networks (ed. M.A. Arbib) pp. 851–859, MIT Press, Cambridge, 2002.
  • The Mathematics of Marriage: Dynamic Nonlinear Models (with J.M. Gottman, C. Swanson, R. Tyson, and K.R. Swanson). MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, 2002.
  • A mathematical model for the dynamics of serum prostate specific antigen as a marker for cancerous growth (with K.R. Swanson, D. Lin, L. True, K. Buhler and R. Vassella). Amer. J. Pathol. 158(6): 2195-2199, 2001.

Awards and honours

Murray was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 1985.[3]


  1. MURRAY, Prof. James Dickson. Who's Who. 2016 (online Oxford University Press ed.). A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> (subscription required)
  2. 2.0 2.1 James D. Murray at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Professor James Murray FRS". London: Royal Society. Archived from the original on 2015-11-17.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>