Robert Lee Moore (18821974) was a towering figure in twentieth century mathematics, internationally recognized as founder of his own school of topology, which produced some of the most significant mathematicians in that field. The 50 students he guided to their PhDs can today claim 1,678 doctoral descendants. Many of them are still teaching courses in the style of their mentor, known universally as the Moore Method, which he devised. Its principal edicts virtually prohibit students from using textbooks during the learning process, call for only the briefest of lectures in class and demand no collaboration or conferring between classmates. (Exceptions were Moore's calculus and analytic geometry courses in which textbooks were used for setting problems. His doctoral students were allowed to refer to the literature mainly to ensure their theses were original.) It is in essence a Socratic method that encourages students to solve problems using their own skills of critical analysis and creativity. Moore summed it up in just eleven words: 'That student is taught the best who is told the least.'
Moore's long life was mainly devoted to mathematics and to his students but it intersected with many of the principal social issues of 20thcentury America. Some of the key events are given in A Chronology of Moore's Life and Times.


Professor Moore at the University of Texas at Austin, 1966. (From the film produced by the Mathematical Association of America.)  
His success has inspired others to develop variations.


Classroom Video Diaries:
Shorter Introductions:


The R.L. Moore Legacy Project 

Last Revised 14 Feb. 2013 