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Charles Max Mason (October 26, 1877, Madison, Wisconsin – March 23, 1961, Claremont, California, better known as Max Mason) was an American mathematician. Mason was president of the University of Chicago (1925–1929) and president of the Rockefeller Foundation (1929–1936).

Mason's mathematical research interests included differential equations, the calculus of variations, and electromagnetic theory.


* B.Litt. , 1898, University of Wisconsin-Madison
* Ph.D., Mathematics, University of Göttingen, 1903.
o Dissertation: "Randwertaufgaben bei gewöhnlichen Differentialgleichungen" (Boundary value functions with ordinary differential equations
o Advisor: Hilbert


* Massachusetts Institute of Technolology (MIT), 1903–1904, Instructor of Mathematics.
* Yale University, 1904–1908, Assistant Professor of Mathematics.
* University of Wisconsin–Madison, 1908–1909, University of Wisconsin–Madison, Associate Professor of Mathematics,
* University of Wisconsin–Madison, 1909–1925, Professor of Physics.
o National Research Council, 1917–1919, Submarine Committee. (Invented a submarine detection device, which was the basis for sonar detectors used in World War II.)
* University of Chicago, 1925–1928, President.
* Rockefeller Foundation, 1928–1929, Director, Natural Sciences Division.
* Rockefeller Foundation, 1929–1936 , President.
* Palomar Observatory (California), 1936–1949, Chairman of the team directing the construction of the observatory.

On May 2, 1945 he appeared on Edgar Bergen's radio show to chat about the new observatory and trade jokes with Charlie McCarthy. As one of Max's grandchildren, I attended the first session of that radio show. Even though I was only 5 years old at the time, I remember going to the auditorium to watch it and seeing Charlie live for the first time. Only later did we find out that there had been a problem with the outgoing feed. As I recall, there was a second show and a party at my parent's house afterward. I remember my dad setting up a telescope on a tripod pointed out the living room window at a grapefruit he had hung under the porch roof and getting Max to take a peek at the "moon."

External links

* Mathematicians: Charles Max Mason from the School of Mathematical and Computational Sciences, University of St. Andrews, Scotland
* Max Mason from the University of Chicago


Mathematics Encyclopedia

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