Max Wyman (1969–1974)
Dr Max Wyman, the seventh President of the University of Alberta, was not only a skilled administrator, but also a talented mathematician. In 1945, Wyman, who had been asked to review a paper co-written by Einstein, wrote a letter to the famous scientist saying “I believe that there is a rather serious error in the paper…” and there was.
Original: History Trails
Max Wyman was born in Lethbridge, Alberta in 1916 and received his BSc from the University of Alberta in 1937. When he graduated, the University awarded him the Governor General's Gold Medal and the Department of Mathematics's top award. After receiving his PhD magna cum laude from the California Institute of Technology, Wyman held a wartime position with the National Research Council in Ottawa (1940 and 1942) and taught at the University of Saskatchewan in 1941.
In 1943, Wyman became a lecturer of mathematicsat the University of Alberta and, in 1956, became a full professor. Wyman became involved in administration in 1961 when he became Chair of the Department of Mathematics. Dr Wyman held the position of Dean of Science from 1963 to 1965, and, in 1964, he became Vice-President (Academic).
When Wyman was appointed President of the University of Alberta in 1969, he became the first University of Alberta graduate to hold this position. Wyman was President until his retirement in 1974. He encouraged research and graduate studies, and was instrumental in modifying the teaching loads of professors, thus helping the University of Alberta evolve into a modern research university.
Wyman, also a very talented mathematician, was the first to solve the equations underlying the unified field theory. He also investigated the area of asymptotic expansions, the part of mathematics that deals with equations too complex to yield an exact answer. In recognition of his contributions to science, he was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 1951. At the time, he was the youngest person ever elected to the Society.
Dr Wyman was also involved with numerous commissions, including the Alberta Electoral Boundaries Commission and the Board of Review for Provincial Courts in Alberta. He was also chair of the Alberta Human Rights Commission from 1974 to 1979. Wyman won an Alberta junior golf championship while a student at the University of Alberta and continued to enjoy golf and curling throughout his life. Dr Wyman passed away in 1991.