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Maurer, Julius Maximilian


(b. Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany, 14 July 1857; d. Zurich, Switzerland, 21 January 1938)

meteorology, astronomy.

Maurer was born in Germany but passed his whole life in Switzerland, where his parents settled when he was own year old. He attended the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule at Zurich and studied astronomy at the University of Zurich. In 1879 he became as assistant at the Eidgenössische Sternwarte in Zurich, and in 1882 he received his doctorate for a thesis on the extinction of starlight in the atmosphere. In 1881 he was appointed adjunct at the Schweizerische Meteorologische Zentralanstalt, which was at that time connected with the observatory; soon afterwards the two institutions were separated administratively. In 1905, Maurer became director of the Zentralanstalt; he retired in 1934. He was a member of many scientific societies, and he was also an honorary citizen of Zurich from 1900.

Maurer worked mainly on radiation problems. In his early years, he dealt with the astronomical aspects of radiation. Later he became interested in questions of radiation in meteorology. His papers on total solar radiation and on nighttime heat loss by radiation made these topics as clear as was possible at the end of the nineteenth century.

Some meteorological instruments were constructed by Mauler, including barographs and instruments recording solar radiation. His position as director of the Zentralanstalt stimulated him to climatological researches. In 1909, together with R. Billwiller, Jr., and C. Hess, he published Das Klima der Schweiz, which contained detailed critical discussions on the climate of Switzerland. Maurer continued work on these problems and published papers on glacial variations, freezing of lakes, and general climatological problems.


Among Maurer’s works are “Die theoretische Darstellung des Temperaturgans in der Nacht und die Wärme-strahlung der Atmosphäre,” in Meteorologische Zeitschrift, 4 (1887), 189; “Beobachtungen über die irdische Strahlenbrechung bei typischen Formen der Luftdruckverteilung,” ibid., 22 (1905), 49; and Das Klima der Schweiz, 2 vols. (Frauenfeld, 1909–1910), written with R. Billwiller, Jr., and C. Hess. Many of Maurer’s papers on detailed questions of climatology in Switzerland appeared in Meteorologische Zeitschrift. There is no secondary literature on Maurer.

F. Schmeidler

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