Erica Klarreich

Freelance Mathematics and Science Journalist

Berkeley, California

Erica Klarreich

My work has appeared in Quanta, Nature, The Atlantic, New Scientist, Science News, Wired and many other publications, and has been reprinted in the 2010, 2011, and 2016 volumes of "The Best Writing on Mathematics."


A Collector of Math and Physics Surprises

November 27, 2018 — Tadashi Tokieda lives in a world in which ordinary objects do extraordinary things. Jars of rice refuse to roll down ramps. Strips of paper slip past solid obstacles. Balls swirling inside a bowl switch direction when more balls join them. Yet Tokieda’s world is none other than our own. His public mathematics lectures could easily be mistaken for magic shows, but there’s no sleight of hand, no hidden compartments, no trick deck of cards.
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Mystery Math Whiz and Novelist Advance Permutation Problem

November 5, 2018 — A new proof from the Australian science fiction writer Greg Egan and a 2011 proof anonymously posted online are now being hailed as significant advances on a puzzle mathematicians have been studying for at least 25 years.
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Graduate Student Solves Quantum Verification Problem

October 8, 2018 — Urmila Mahadev spent eight years in graduate school solving one of the most basic questions in quantum computation: How do you know whether a quantum computer has done anything quantum at all?
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Titans of Mathematics Clash Over Epic Proof of ABC Conjecture

Sept 20, 2018 — Two mathematicians have found what they say is a hole at the heart of a proof that has convulsed the mathematics community for nearly six years.
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A Poet of Computation Who Uncovers Distant Truths

August 1, 2018 — The theoretical computer scientist Constantinos Daskalakis has won the Rolf Nevanlinna Prize for explicating core questions in game theory and machine learning.
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A Number Theorist Who Bridges Math and Time

August 1, 2018 — Akshay Venkatesh, a former prodigy who struggled with the genius stereotype, has won a Fields Medal for his “profound contributions to an exceptionally broad range of subjects in mathematics.”
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A Master of Numbers and Shapes Who Is Rewriting Arithmetic

August 1, 2018 — The 30-year-old math sensation Peter Scholze is now one of the youngest Fields medalists for “the revolution that he launched in arithmetic geometry.”
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First Big Steps Toward Proving the Unique Games Conjecture

April 25, 2018 — A paper posted online in January takes theoretical computer scientists halfway toward proving one of the biggest conjectures in their field.
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The Infinite Primes and Museum Guard Proofs, Explained

March 26, 2018 — In January, I spoke with Günter Ziegler, one of the authors of Proofs From THE BOOK, a compilation of some of the most beautiful and elegant proofs in mathematics. The collection was inspired by the legendary mathematician Paul Erdős, who envisioned an infinite book in which God had written the perfect proof for each theorem.
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In Search of God’s Perfect Proofs

March 19, 2018 — Paul Erdős, the famously eccentric, peripatetic and prolific 20th-century mathematician, was fond of the idea that God has a celestial volume containing the perfect proof of every mathematical theorem. “This one is from The Book,” he would declare when he wanted to bestow his highest praise on a beautiful proof.
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Scant Evidence of Power Laws Found in Real-World Networks

February 15, 2018 — A paper posted online last month has reignited a debate about one of the oldest, most startling claims in the modern era of network science: the proposition that most complex networks in the real world — from the World Wide Web to interacting proteins in a cell — are “scale-free.”
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A Mathematician Who Dances to the Joys and Sorrows of Discovery

November 20, 2017 — “Nadie te quita lo bailado.”(No one can take from you what you've danced.) For Federico Ardila, this Latin American expression epitomizes his approach to life and mathematics. It’s the driving force behind the parties he DJs in venues across the San Francisco Bay Area, where people dance till morning to the beats of his native Colombia. The dance floor is a place “where you have your freedom and you have your power, and nobody can take that away from you,” Ardila said.
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Erica Klarreich

I have been writing about mathematics and science for a popular audience for more than fifteen years. A mathematician before I became a full-time journalist, I try to convey the essence of complex mathematical ideas to non-mathematicians, and give them a sense of the beauty and depth of mathematics.

I also enjoy plunging into topics far from my mathematical roots, and have written about fields such as economics, computer science, medicine, and biology — often as these fields relate to mathematics, but often simply for their own sake.

As a freelance journalist based in Berkeley, California, I have written for many publications, including Nature, Quanta Magazine,, New Scientist, American Scientist,, Nautilus, and Science News, for which I was the mathematics correspondent for several years. I was also the Journalist in Residence at the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute in Berkeley. My work has been reprinted in the 2010, 2011, and 2016 volumes of "The Best Writing on Mathematics."

I am a graduate of the science writing program at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and I have a Ph.D. in mathematics from Stony Brook University.

For the Fall 2016 semester, I am the Journalist in Residence at the Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing at the University of California, Berkeley.

Contact me at

Follow me on Twitter at @EricaKlarreich