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"FoxTrot" Character Jason Fox to Promote Innovative Educational Calculus Software

Published June 8, 1998

Syndicated Cartoon Character to Appear on Promotional Materials

Jason Fox and Calculus WIZ
Copyright © 1998 Bill Amend

Wolfram Research, Inc. has enlisted Jason Fox, of Bill Amend’s popular comic strip “FoxTrot,” to represent Calculus WIZ, Wolfram Research’s new Mathematica-based interactive software for calculus study. Jason, a 10-year-old science buff, was chosen as spokesperson for his reputation as a mathematics genius.

Under the agreement with Andrews McMeel Universal, the computer-mad Jason will appear in promotional materials supporting the release of Calculus WIZ. Calculus WIZ is a combination algebraic calculator and interactive textbook developed by Dr. Keith Stroyan, distinguished mathematician and award-winning innovator in math education. It teaches the standard mathematical concepts found in nearly all first-year calculus classes.

Central to Calculus WIZ’s appeal is its ability to actually solve the user’s calculus homework problems directly. These capabilities are based on Wolfram Research’s Mathematica, the technical computing system used by researchers, scientists, engineers, financial analysts, and students worldwide. Calculus WIZ, which requires Mathematica for Students 3 or later, will be widely available for the fall semester.

Some of Jason’s reputation as a math whiz is already related to Mathematica. In one “FoxTrot” strip several years ago, Jason recited from memory the first hundred digits of the familiar mathematical constant pi. Amend got the appropriate value from a physicist acquaintance, who produced it using a software package popular with physicists. The software was called Mathematica, a name that so struck Amend that he mentioned it in his work twice in the following years.

“Jason is a great match for Calculus WIZ,” said John Bonadies, Director of Marketing and Creative Services at Wolfram Research. “Jason has this huge mass of technical knowledge in his head–he really knows his stuff. If you could pick anyone as a homework partner in math or science, Jason would be tops. That’s also what Calculus WIZ represents, this ideal homework partner who’s always there to help you understand calculus concepts and solve the homework problems.”

Bill Amend’s “FoxTrot” debuted on April 10, 1988–coincidentally, about two months before the rollout of Mathematica 1.0–and has become one of the most widely syndicated comic strips in North America. Amend attended Amherst College and majored in physics, a background he draws upon when writing Jason’s character. For more information, visit the Calculus WIZ web site and “FoxTrot” on the web at http://www.foxtrot.com.