Historian of science, b. Tübingen, Nov. 17, 1905; d. Rome, Dec. 2, 1971. Born of Lutheran parents, she was the daughter of Anna Sigwart and Heinrich Maier, a distinguished philosopher. After early studies in Tübingen, Göttingen, and Heidelberg, she studied philosophy, physics, and the history of art at the Universities of Zurich and Berlin, where she presented her doctoral thesis Kants Qualitätskategorien. In 1936 she went to Italy to work on the letters of Leibniz preserved in the Vatican Library. In 1938 she published her first major work, Die Mechanisierung des Weltbildes im 17. Jahrundert, which was reedited in 1968. Under the influence of Auguste Pelzer she turned her attention to medieval science, publishing her first efforts in 1939 concerning intensive quantities.
During World War II she lived in Rome, thanks to the generosity of Cardinal Angelo Mercati, and made it her home. In 1945 she became a collaborator of the Vatican Library, publishing her catalogue of Latin Borghese MSS in 1952 and MSS Vat. lat. 2118–92 in 1961. In 1954 she became research professor of the Max-Planck-Gesellschaff with full title and subsidy. Between 1943 and 1958 she published five major volumes on the history of medieval science under the general title of Studien zur Naturphilosophie der Spätscholastik. Becoming a Catholic in 1943, she was baptized by Placido M. Niccolini, bishop of Assisi. Maier was deeply devoted to the Barna-bite Fathers in Rome. At the time of her death she was working on a project, approved by John XXIII, to publish with Giuseppe de Luca documents concerning the beatific vision controversy involving John XXII.
Bibliography: Studien: 1. Die Vorläufer Galileis im 14. Jahrundert (1949; 2d ed. 1966). 2. Zwei Grundprobleme der scholastichen Naturphilosophie (1951; 3d ed. 1968). 3. An der Grenze von Scholastik und Naturwissenschaft (1943; 2d ed. 1952).4. Metaphysiche Hinter-gründe der spätscholastichen Naturphilasophie (1955). 5. Zwischen Philosophie und Mechanik (1958). Ausgehendes Mittelalter, 2 v. (1964–67). Works about Maier, m. clagett, Speculum 48 (1973) 626–627. e. grant, Archives intern. d'hist. des sciences. j. bignami odier, Rivista di Storia della Chiesa in Italia (1972) 245–248. s. v. rovighi, Rivista di Filosopia Neo-Scholastica, (1972) 353–354.
[j. a. weisheipl]