Eugene A. Klotz

  • 2011 Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient

    Eugene A. Klotz

    Swarthmore, Pennsylvania

    Now retired from Swarthmore College, Gene Klotz continues to work with the Math Forum at Drexel University, living testimony to the fact that he has done more than influence the students he has taught over the last forty-seven years. He has inspired them to bring innovation and enthusiasm to their work-and beyond his own classroom, he has changed the technology of mathematics education. He was among the first to realize the potential of technology to support mathematics learning, and over the years his projects have incorporated the newest technology while looking ahead at emerging technology and its possibilities. 

    One result of that commitment to innovation was a project undertaken by Nicholas Jackiw, a Swarthmore student who was not even a mathematics major at the time. The result of his work-the Geometer's Sketchpad-is now one of the most widely used software programs in school mathematics.

    In the early 1980s, Klotz used Atari computer graphics for trigonometry, and in 1986 he launched the multimedia Visual Geometry Project. To get people talking about geometry teaching, Klotz took advantage of early Internet technologies to establish the Geometry Forum. With the advent of the World Wide Web, his project expanded to the Math Forum, which has become the leading online resource for improving math learning, teaching, and communication. Ask Dr. Math, an advice feature of the website, has become so popular that four books have been based on the posted interactions.
    Klotz's more recent projects include Math Tools, a library of technology tools, lessons, activities, and support materials, and his current project is Math Images, a website where users can find images related to mathematics and learn about the math behind them. 

    One nominator described Klotz's approach: "His method seems to be to collect a combustible leaf pile of talent; to ignite it with a combination of provocative ideas, problems, and fascinating playthings; to fan it with daily stimulation, expert advice only when needed, constant humor…; and then, somehow, rather than let it consume itself or burn out, to connect it to a renewable or even expanding energy source, while he himself steps back, brushes off his hands, and begins casting his eye out for new tinder."

    Klotz's accomplishments include involvement in NCTM's Electronic Resources Committee and Figure This! Advisory Panel. Klotz has also served on numerous task forces and writing groups for the Mathematical Association of America.