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AbstractImportant DatesOccupationPlacesSubjects




Archival as AuthorArchival as SubjectPublished as AuthorPublished as Subject

Max Mason



October 26, 1877 – March 22, 1961

Authorized Form of Name

Mason, Max, 1877-1961

Additional Forms of Names

Mason, Charles Max, 1877-1961



Charles Max Mason was Chair, Observatory Council at the California Institute of Technology (1936-1951). Other institutional affiliations included Rockefeller Foundation and the University of Chicago. His research interests included mathematical physics and submarine research.

Important Dates

October 26, 1877Birth, Madison (Wis.).

1898Obtained BL, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Madison (Wis.).

1903Obtained PhD in Mathematics, University of Göttingen, Göttingen (Germany).

1903 – 1904Instructor in Mathematics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

1904 – 1908Assistant Professor, Sheffield Scientific School, Yale University.

1908 – 1925Associate Professor (1908-1910) and Professor of Mathematical Physics (1910-1925), University of Wisconsin, Madison, Madison (Wis.).

1911 – 1912Lecturer, Harvard University.

1917 – 1919Member, Submarine Committee, National Research Council.

1917 – 1919Researcher, Naval Experiment Station, United States Navy.

1923Member, National Academy of Sciences.

1925 – 1928President, University of Chicago.

1928 – 1936Director, Natural Sciences Division (1928-1929) and President (1930-1936), Rockefeller Foundation, New York (N.Y.).

1936 – 1951Vice Chair, Observatory Council (1936-1938); Member, Executive Council (1936-1951); Chair, Observatory Council (1938-1951); and Member, Board of Trustees (1945-1951), California Institute of Technology, Pasadena (Calif.).

March 22, 1961Death, Claremont (Calif.).


Mathematical physicist.



Madison (Wis.)

Undergraduate Education

Madison (Wis.)

Graduate Education

Göttingen (Germany)


Madison (Wis.)

Pasadena (Calif.)


Claremont (Calif.)


Electromagnetic fields.

Mathematical physics.





Mason, Daphne Crane Martin

Second wife.

Mason, Edwin Cole


Mason, Josephine Vrooman


Mason, Mary Louise Freeman

First wife.

Mason, Maxwell


Mason, Molly


Mason, Vroman, 1873-1941


Mason, William


Advisors & Collaborators

Farnsworth, H. E. (Harrison Edward), 1896-1989

Advised by Mason at University of Wisconsin, Madison, "Bombardment of metal surfaces by slow-moving electrons."

Hilbert, David, 1862-1943

PhD advisor at Universität Göttingen, "Randwertaufgaben bei gewöhnlichen Differentialgleichungen."

Slichter, Louis B. (Louis Byrne), 1896-1978

Advised by Mason at University of Wisconsin, Madison.


Allison, Samuel King, 1900-1965

Both employed at University of Chicago.

Compton, Arthur Holly, 1892-1962

Both employed at University of Chicago.

Dempster, Arthur Jeffrey

Both employed at University of Chicago.

DuBridge, Lee A. (Lee Alvin), 1901-1994

Both employed at California Institute of Technology.

Eckart, Carl, 1902-1973

Both employed at University of Chicago.

Hilberry, Norman, 1899-

Both employed at University of Chicago.

Millikan, Robert Andrews, 1868-1953

Both employed at California Institute of Technology.

Mulliken, Robert Sanderson

Both employed at University of Chicago.

Ross, Frank E. (Frank Elmore), 1874-1960

Both employed at University of Chicago.

Webster, David Locke, 1888-1976

Both employed at Harvard University.


Bowen, Ira Sprague, 1898-1973

Cope, Thomas D. (Thomas Darlington)

Lewis, E. Percival (Exum Percival), 1863-1925


Major Positions

California Institute of Technology

Vice Chair and Chair, Observatory Council; Member, Executive Committee; and Member, Board of Trustees.

Harvard University. Department of Mathematics


Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Mathematics

Instructor in Mathematics.

Rockefeller Foundation

Director, Natural Sciences Division and President.

United States. Navy

Researcher, Naval Experiment Station.

University of Chicago


University of Wisconsin--Madison. Mathematics Department

Obtained BL (1898). Associate Professor of Mathematics and Professor of Mathematical Physics.

Yale University. Physics Department

Assistant Professor, Sheffield Scientific School.

Professional Activities & Affiliations

National Academy of Sciences (U.S.)


National Research Council (U.S.)

Member, Submarine Committee.

Universität Göttingen. Mathematisches Institut

Obtained PhD in Mathematics (1903).


Archival Resources


Max Mason papers, 1750-1815.

Library and Archives

Royal Observatory, Edinburgh

Edinburgh, Scotland, UK

Max Mason papers, 1898-1961.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Papers of physicists and astronomers in Hoover Library, 1918-1965.

Herbert Hoover Presidential Library

West Branch, IA 52358, USA


E. Percival Lewis papers, 1903-1925.

Manuscripts Department. Southern Historical Collection

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Wilson Library CB# 3926, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3926, USA

Oral history interview with Ira Bowen, 1968 August 9 and 1969 August 26.

Niels Bohr Library & Archives

American Institute of Physics

One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD 20740, USA

Thomas Darlington Cope papers, circa 1909-1964.


American Philosophical Society

105 South Fifth Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106, USA

Published Resources


The electromagnetic field / [by] Max Mason ... [and] Warren Weaver …

The New Haven mathematical colloquium : Lectures delivered before members of the American Mathematical Society in connection with the summer meeting, held September 5th to 8th, 1906, under the auspices of Yale University / by Eliakim Hastings Moore, Ernest Julius Wilczynski, Max Mason.


"Max Mason: 1877-1961", Biographical Memoirs of the National Academy of Sciences

Max Mason Physics Today obituary.