Doris Schattschneider

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Doris Schattschneider
BornOctober 19, 1939 (1939-10-19) (age 83)
Alma materYale University
Scientific career
InstitutionsMoravian College
ThesisRestricted Roots of a Semi-simple Algebraic Group (1966)
Doctoral advisorTsuneo Tamagawa
Ichirô Satake
InfluencesM.C. Escher, Branko Grünbaum

Doris J. Schattschneider (née Wood) is an American mathematician, a retired professor of mathematics at Moravian College. She is known for writing about tessellations and about the art of M. C. Escher,[1][2] for helping Martin Gardner validate and popularize the pentagon tiling discoveries of amateur mathematician Marjorie Rice,[3] and for co-directing with Eugene Klotz the project that developed The Geometer's Sketchpad.[1][2][4]


Schattschneider was born in Staten Island; her mother, Charlotte Lucile Ingalls Wood, taught Latin and was herself the daughter of a Staten Island school principal, and her father, Robert W. Wood, Jr., was an electrical engineer who worked for the New York City Bureau of Bridge Design.[5] Her family moved to Lake Placid, New York during World War II, while her father served as an engineer for the U. S. Army; she began her schooling in Lake Placid, but returned to Staten Island after the war.[5] She did her undergraduate studies in mathematics at the University of Rochester, and earned a Ph.D. in 1966 from Yale University under the joint supervision of Tsuneo Tamagawa and Ichirô Satake; her thesis, in abstract algebra, concerned semisimple algebraic groups.[2][6] She taught at Northwestern University for a year and at the University of Illinois at Chicago Circle for three years before joining the faculty of Moravian College in 1968, where she remained for 34 years until her retirement.[2][7] She was the first female editor of Mathematics Magazine, from 1981 to 1985.[1][2]

She was married for 54 years to the Rev. Dr. David A. Schattschneider (1939-2016), a church historian and Dean of Moravian Theological Seminary; their daughter Laura Ellen Schattschneider is a lawyer.

Involvement with Marjorie Rice[edit]

By February 1976, Marjorie Rice had discovered a new pentagon type and its variations in shape and drew up several tessellations by these pentagon tiles. She mailed her discoveries to Martin Gardner using her own home-made notation. He, in turn, sent Rice's work to Schattschneider, who was an expert in tiling patterns. Schattschneider was skeptical at first, saying that Rice's peculiar notation system seemed odd, like "hieroglyphics". But with careful examination, she was able to validate Rice's results.[8]

Schattschneider not only helped Martin Gardner popularize the pentagon tiling discoveries of Rice, but lauded her work as an exciting discovery by an amateur mathematician.[9][10]

In 1995, at a regional meeting of the Mathematical Association of America held in Los Angeles, Schattschneider convinced Rice and her husband to attend her lecture on Rice's work. Before concluding her talk, Schattschneider introduced the amateur mathematician who had advanced the study of tessellation. "And everybody in the room . . . gave her a standing ovation."[8][11]

Awards and honors[edit]

Schattschneider won the Mathematical Association of America's Carl B. Allendoerfer Award for excellence in expository writing in Mathematics Magazine in 1979, for her article "Tiling the plane with congruent pentagons".[5][12] In 1993, she won the MAA's Award for Distinguished Teaching of College or University Mathematics.[1][2][13] In 2012 she became a fellow of the American Mathematical Society.[14] She delivered the Martin Gardner Lecture at MathFest in August 2021.[15]

Selected publications[edit]

  • M. C. Escher Kaleidocycles (with Wallace Walker), Ballantine Books, 1977, Pomegranate Artbooks and TACO, 1987, Taschen 2015[16]
  • Visions of Symmetry: Notebooks, Periodic Drawings, and Related Work of M. C. Escher (W. H. Freeman, 1990, 1992;
Revised as M. C. Escher: Visions of Symmetry, Harry N. Abrams, 2004)[17][18][19][20]
  • A Companion to Calculus (with Dennis Ebersole, Alicia Sevilla, and Kay Somers, Brooks/Cole, 1995)[21]
Edited volumes
  • Geometry Turned On!: Dynamic Software in Learning, Teaching, and Research (with James King, Cambridge University Press, 1997)
  • M.C. Escher's Legacy: A Centennial Celebration (with Michelle Emmer, Springer, 2003)
  • Schattschneider, Doris (1978), "Tiling the plane with congruent pentagons" (PDF), Mathematics Magazine, 51 (1): 29–44, doi:10.2307/2689644, JSTOR 2689644;
Reprinted with Afterword in The Harmony of the World: 75 Years of Mathematics Magazine, eds. G. Alexanderson and P. Ross, Math. Assoc. of Amer., Washington DC, 2007, pp. 175-190.
Reprinted as Mathematical Recreations: A Collection in Honor of Martin Gardner, Dover Publications, New York, 1998.
  • Schattschneider, Doris (1998), "One Corona is Enough for the Euclidean Plane," coauthor Nikolai Dolbilin. In Quasicrystals and Discrete Geometry (J. Patera, editor). Fields Institute Monographs, Vol. 10, AMS, Providence, RI, 1998, pp. 207–246.
Accompanying web site: Catalog of Isohedral Tilings by Symmetric Polygonal Tiles


  1. ^ a b c d 2005 Parson Lecturer - Dr. Doris Schattschneider, University of North Carolina at Asheville, Department of Mathematics, archived from the original on 2014-01-11, retrieved 2013-07-13.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Riddle, Larry (April 5, 2013), Doris Schattschneider, Biographies of Women Mathematicians, Agnes Scott College, retrieved 2013-07-13.
  3. ^ Cole, K. C. (March 11, 1998), "Beating the Pros to the Punch", Los Angeles Times.
  4. ^ Scher, Daniel (Summer 2000), "Lifting the curtain: The evolution of The Geometer's Sketchpad" (PDF), Mathematics Educator, 10 (2): 42–48, archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-02-11, retrieved 2013-07-14.
  5. ^ a b c Brunner, Regina Baron (1998), "Doris Wood Schattschneider", in Morrow, Charlene; Perl, Teri (eds.), Notable Women in Mathematics: A Biographical Dictionary, Greenwood Press, pp. 214–219, ISBN 9780313291319.
  6. ^ Doris Schattschneider at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
  7. ^ Author biography from "Tiling the Plane with Congruent Pentagons", Mathematics Magazine, 1978.
  8. ^ a b Cole, K. C. (March 11, 1998). "Beating the Pros to the Punch". Los Angeles Times. p. 1. ProQuest 421258615. Archived from the original on November 6, 2015.
  9. ^ Schattschneider, Doris (1981). "In Praise of Amateurs". In Klarner, David A. (ed.). The Mathematical Gardner (PDF). Boston: Prindle, Weber & Schmidt. pp. 140–166. doi:10.1007/978-1-4684-6686-7_16. ISBN 978-1-4684-6688-1. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 26, 2020. Reprinted as Mathematical Recreations: A Collection in Honor of Martin Gardner, Mineloa, NY: Dover, 1998
  10. ^ Schattschneider, Doris (Spring 1996). "Perplexing Pentagons". Discovering Geometry Newsletter. 7 (1). OCLC 1001465604. Archived from the original on August 13, 2016.
  11. ^ Schattschneider, Doris (2017). "Marjorie Rice (16 February 1923–2 July 2017)". Journal of Mathematics and the Arts. 12 (1): 51–54. doi:10.1080/17513472.2017.1399680.
  12. ^ The Mathematical Association of America's Carl B. Allendoerfer Award, retrieved 2013-07-13.
  13. ^ "Moravian professor gets math teaching award", The Morning Call, April 8, 1993.
  14. ^ List of Fellows of the American Mathematical Society, retrieved 2013-07-13.
  15. ^ "Invited Addresses | Mathematical Association of America". Retrieved 2021-06-04.
  16. ^ Dembart, Lee (May 27, 1988), "Book Review: Art Meets Math in 'Kaleidocycles'", Los Angeles Times.
  17. ^ Brooks, David (2 December 1990), "Escher: Unusual marriage of art and mathematics. Author explores inspiration behind the geometrical work", The Sunday Telegraph.
  18. ^ "Review: Paper patterns of complexity", New Scientist, 21 November 1992.
  19. ^ Solomon, Charles (December 6, 1992), "A season's treasures: Paperbacks from east to west", Newsday.
  20. ^ "Ever so plane and beautiful", Times Higher Education, 14 January 2005.
  21. ^ Martin, John P. (December 18, 1993), "Calculus Made Easier: Professors Publish Book To Aid Students", The Morning Call.

Further reading[edit]