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Erica Klarreich

Freelance Mathematics and Science Journalist

Berkeley, California

Erica Klarreich

I am an award-winning mathematics and science journalist whose work has appeared in Quanta, Nature, The Atlantic, New Scientist and many other publications, and has been reprinted in the 2010, 2011, 2016 and 2020 volumes of "The Best Writing on Mathematics."

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Mathematician Disproves 80-Year-Old Algebra Conjecture

April 12, 2021 — Inside the symmetries of a crystal shape, a postdoctoral researcher has unearthed a counterexample to a basic conjecture about multiplicative inverses.
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Statistics Postdoc Tames Decades-Old Geometry Problem

March 1, 2021 — To the surprise of experts in the field, a postdoctoral statistician has solved one of the most important problems in high-dimensional convex geometry.
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Computer Scientists Achieve ‘Crown Jewel’ of Cryptography

November 10, 2020 — A cryptographic master tool called indistinguishability obfuscation has for years seemed too good to be true. Three researchers have figured out that it can work.
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Computer Scientists Break Traveling Salesperson Record

October 8, 2020 — After 44 years, there’s finally a better way to find approximate solutions to the notoriously difficult traveling salesperson problem.
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Multiplication Hits the Speed Limit

January, 2020 — A paper posted online in March 2019 presents what may be essentially the fastest possible algorithm for one of the oldest problems in mathematics: whole number multiplication.
Communications of the ACM Link to Story
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Decades-Old Computer Science Conjecture Solved in Two Pages

July 25, 2019 — A paper posted online this month has settled a nearly 30-year-old conjecture about the structure of the fundamental building blocks of computer circuits. This “sensitivity” conjecture has stumped many of the most prominent computer scientists over the years, yet the new proof is so simple that one researcher summed it up in a single tweet.
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Good Algorithms Make Good Neighbors

July 2019 — A host of different tasks—such as identifying the song in a database most similar to your favorite song, or the drug most likely to interact with a given molecule—have the same basic problem at their core: finding the point in a dataset that is closest to a given point.
Communications of the ACM Link to Story
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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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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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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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In Game Theory, No Clear Path to Equilibrium

July 18, 2017 — In 1950, John Nash — the mathematician later featured in the book and film “A Beautiful Mind” — wrote a two-page paper that transformed the theory of economics. His crucial, yet utterly simple, idea was that any competitive game has a notion of equilibrium: a collection of strategies, one for each player, such that no player can win more by unilaterally switching to a different strategy.
Quanta Magazine Link to Story
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Graph Isomorphism Vanquished — Again

January 14, 2017 — It’s been a whiplash-inducing couple of weeks for theoretical computer scientists. On January 4, László Babai, a professor at the University of Chicago, sent shock waves through the community by retracting a claim which, back in November 2015, researchers had hailed as the theoretical computer science advance of the decade.
Quanta Magazine Link to Story

About

Erica Klarreich

I have been writing about mathematics and science for a popular audience for more than 20 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 Quanta Magazine, Nature, ScientificAmerican.com, New Scientist, American Scientist, Wired.com, Nautilus, and Science News, for which I was the mathematics correspondent for several years. I've also been the journalist in residence at the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute in Berkeley and at the Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing at the University of California, Berkeley. My work has been reprinted in the 2010, 2011, 2016 and 2020 volumes of "The Best Writing on Mathematics."

I received the 2021 Communications Award from the Joint Policy Board for Mathematics, which recognizes journalists and other communicators who, on a sustained basis, bring accurate mathematical information to nonmathematical audiences.

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.

Contact me at klarreic@gmail.com.

Follow me on Twitter at @EricaKlarreich