Walther Mayer

Austrian mathematician

Walther Mayer (11 March 1887 – 10 September 1948) was a Jewish, Austrian mathematician, born in Graz, Austria-Hungary. With Leopold Vietoris he gained fame for originating the Mayer–Vietoris sequence in topology. From 1929 until his death in 1948, Mayer mathematically assisted Albert Einstein. In 1933 Einstein moved to the United States and joined the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS). Mayer soon followed Einstein to the IAS and acquired the nickname "Einstein's calculator".


  • The duality theorems for a manifold will be derived from the corresponding ones for nets and co-nets of group systems ... Of the two types of duality theorems — the Poincaré and Alexander duality theorems — the first could be obtained more easily from the corresponding one for a group system and its character system ... But when applied to the Alexander type this method fails. Also in using the net and co-net theory for both types, the less complicated Poincaré theorem serves as an introduction for the Alexander theorem.

Quotes about Walther Mayer

  • ... I think Walther Mayer got a designation that has never been used for anyone else. He was the only associate professor the Institute has ever had. He was called "associate professor."
    Yes, and the reason was: Einstein wanted him very much. Clearly the mathematicians did not feel that he really should be a full-fledged faculty member. This was at an early stage, so they took a designation that was used in American universities. Only later did it occur to them to create a new thing called "permanent member."
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