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."


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.”
Quanta Magazine Link to Story

The Illusion Machine That Teaches Us How We See

November 13, 2014 — The man sprang onstage dressed as a miner, complete with headlamp and pickaxe. After swinging the axe a few times, he proclaimed to the audience that he had discovered a “supermagnet”—a substance so strong it could attract even wood. A video screen above him appeared to prove him right: It showed wooden balls rolling up four ramps, seemingly unbound by gravity.
Nautilus Link to Story

Reading Brains

March 5, 2014 — Mind reading has traditionally been the domain of mystics and science fiction writers. Increasingly, however, it is becoming the province of serious science. A new study from the laboratory of Marcel van Gerven of Radboud University Nijmegen in the Netherlands demonstrates it is possible to figure out what people are looking at by scanning their brains.
Communications of the ACM Link to Story

Why Sex?

May 18, 2010 — Most people think of natural selection in terms of “survival of the fittest.” And when it comes to asexual organisms, that catchphrase is pretty much on the mark. The fittest individual in a population will (by definition) have the most offspring, and over generations, the number of these offspring—all identical to their common ancestor—will grow exponentially and gradually take over the population, crowding out less fit individuals.
Simons Foundation Link to Story

The Mind of the Swarm

November 25, 2006 — Math explains how group behavior is more than the sum of its parts.
Science News Link to Story

Manuscripts as Fossils

April 9, 2005 — Population-biology equations estimate medieval texts' likelihood of survival.
Science News Link to Story

Life on the Scales

February 12, 2005 — Simple mathematical relationships underpin much of biology and ecology.
Science News Link to Story

Generous Players

July 24, 2004 — Game theory explores the Golden Rule's place in biology.
Science News Link to Story

Digital Cells

April 24, 2004 — Computer circuits made of genes may soon program bacteria.
Science News Link to Story

Computation's New Leaf

February 21, 2004 — Plants may be calculating creatures.
Science News Link to Story

Biologists Join the Dots

October 4, 2001 — Tiny specks of semiconductor can make biological molecules and cellular components glow in a kaleidoscope of colours.
Nature Link to Story


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,, New Scientist, American Scientist,, 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

Follow me on Twitter at @EricaKlarreich