Marion Walter

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Marion Walter (born July 30, 1928 in Berlin, Germany) is a mathematician who retired as Professor of Mathematics at University of Oregon in 1994. There is a theorem named after her, called Marion Walter's theorem.

Education and early life[edit]

Born in Germany in 1928, she left on a Kindertransport to England where she attended a boarding school.[1]

After she left school in December 1944 the school's only mathematics teacher resigned and since it was difficult to find a replacement during the war period, she was asked to teach maths, in part because she had earned a mark of distinction on her Cambridge University School Certificate exam. She taught for two terms and found she enjoyed teaching.[2]

She attended college in England for two years before leaving for the United States in 1948. She then attended Hunter College, majoring in mathematics and minoring in education, graduating in 1950.

After graduating, she taught at Hunter College High School and George Washington High School. She began taking evening classes for a master's degree in mathematics at New York University. She worked as a research assistant, mainly doing computing work at what became the Courant Institute.

In the summers of 1952 and 1953 she was awarded a National Bureau of Standards summer scholarship to study at the Institute of Numerical Analysis at UCLA.

She earned her master's degree in mathematics from New York University in 1954.


She accepted a teaching assistantship at Cornell University. In 1956, she took a one-year appointment at Simmons College in Boston. At the time, the college did not offer a major in mathematics but at the end of the year she was asked to create this major. Disliking the administrative aspects, she stepped down as department chair after four years, remaining there teaching until 1965 when she left to concentrate on her doctorate at Harvard Graduate School of Education, earning an Ed.D. in 1967.

In 1960, she earned a fellowship to attend the National Science Foundation Summer Program at Stanford.

At Harvard, she formed a group called the Boston Area Math Specialists which gives monthly workshops for practicing teachers.[3]

She was a mathematics consultant to the project that became Sesame Street.[4]

She worked briefly in Israel as a UNESCO consultant for mathematics teaching.

In 1977, she accepted a teaching position at University of Oregon where she remained until her retirement in 1994.[5]

In 1993, Marion Walter's Theorem, which deals with the area of the hexagon formed by trisecting the sides of triangles, was named for her.[6]


She wrote a book on using mirrors to explore symmetry - Make a Bigger Puddle, Make a Smaller Worm (1971), which won an honourable mention from the New York Academy of Science Children's Book Award Program, as did her 1985 book The Mirror Puzzle Book.[1]

  • Look at Annette (1971).
  • Another, Another, Another and More (1975).
  • The Art of Problem Posing (1983) - Co-authored with Stephen Brown.
  • Boxes, Squares and Other Things (1970).


  1. ^ a b Mead, Carol. "Introducing the Marion Walter Collection". Retrieved 14 April 2018.
  2. ^ Ruef, Jennifer. "Celebrating Marion Walter – and other unsung female mathematicians". The Conversation. The Conversation Media Group. Retrieved 23 March 2018.
  3. ^ "About BAMS". Boston Area Math Specialists. Retrieved 23 March 2018.
  4. ^ Charlene Morrow and Teri Peri (eds), Notable Women in Mathematics, Greenwood Press, 1998, p 270
  5. ^ "Mathematics Faculty". University of Oregon Catalog. University of Oregon. Retrieved 23 March 2018.
  6. ^ Cuoco, Al; Goldenberg, Paul; Mark, June (1993). "Marion's theorem". The Mathematics Teacher. 86 (8): 619–619. JSTOR 27968561.