Skip to main content

Mayer, Christian Gustav Adolph

MAYER, CHRISTIAN GUSTAV ADOLPH

(b. Leipzig, Germany, 15 February 1839; d. Gries bei Bozen, Austria now Bolzano, Italy], 11 April 1908)

mathematics.

The son of a wealthy Leipzig merchant family, Mayer studied mathematics and physics from 1857 to 1865 at Leipzig, Göttingen, Heidelberg, and chiefly at Königsberg under F. Neumann. In 1861 he received his doctorate from Heidelberg and qualified to lecture there in 1866. He became assistant professor in 1871 and full professor in 1890. In 1872 Mayer married Margerete Weigel. Poor health caused him to suspend his teaching activities early in 1908.

As a professor, Mayer enjoyed great respect from his colleagues and students. His activity as a researcher, which earned him membership in numerous learned societies, dealt essentially with the theory of differential equations, the calculus of variations, and theoretical mechanics. In his work, Following Lagrange and Jacobi, he was capable of bringing out the inner relationship of these fields through emphasis on the principle of least action. Mayer achieved important individual results concerning the theory of integration of partial differential equations and the criteria for maxima and minima in variation problems. This work quickly brought him into close contact with the investigations on partial differential equations that Lie had under way at about the same time, Through subsequent works of Mayer. Lie’s achievements became famous relatively quickly. Despite a great variety of methods and an outstanding mastery of calculation, Mayer was unable to develop the rigor necessary for the existence theorems of the calculus of variations; such rigor was displayed in exemplary fashion at approximately the same time by Weierstrass.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Among Mayer’s works are Beiträge zur Theorie der Maxima und Minima einfacher Integrale (Leipzig, 1866); Geschichte des Prinzips der kleinsten Aktion (Leipzig, 1877); and “Unbesehränkt integrable Systeme von linearen totalen Dilferentialgleichungen und die simultane Integration linearer partieller Differentialgleichungen,” in Mathematische Annalen, 5 (1872), 448–470.

Also see the obituary notice by O. Holder, in Berichte über die Verhandlungen der sächsischen Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Leipzig, Math.-phys. Kl., 60 (1908), 353–373.

H. Wussing

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Mayer, Christian Gustav Adolph." Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography. . Encyclopedia.com. 18 Oct. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Mayer, Christian Gustav Adolph." Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 18, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/mayer-christian-gustav-adolph

"Mayer, Christian Gustav Adolph." Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography. . Retrieved October 18, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/mayer-christian-gustav-adolph

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.