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."


A Breakthrough in Graph Theory

December 23, 2019 — A counterexample to Hedetniemi's conjecture
Numberphile Link to Story

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.
Quanta Magazine Link to Story

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

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

How to Quantify (and Fight) Gerrymandering

April 4, 2017 — Powerful new quantitative tools are now available to combat partisan bias in the drawing of voting districts.
Quanta Magazine Link to Story

All Is Not Fair in Cake-Cutting and Math

October 7, 2016 — A pair of computer scientists recently settled one of the key questions in the theory of fair division: How can you allocate cake slices among a group of people in such a way that no one envies anyone else? Yet envy-freeness is just one of several competing notions of fairness. It’s all well and good to divide a cake in a way that won’t produce envy, but you might instead want to find an “efficient” allocation, one that can’t be improved for anyone without harming someone else.
Quanta Magazine Link to Story

How to Cut Cake Fairly and Finally Eat It Too

October 6, 2016 — Two young computer scientists have figured out how to fairly divide cake among any number of people, setting to rest a problem mathematicians have struggled with for decades. Their work has startled many researchers who believed that such a fair-division protocol was probably impossible. People have known at least since biblical times that there’s a way to divide such an object between two people so that neither person envies the other: one person cuts the cake into two slices that she values equally, and the other person gets to choose her favorite slice.
Quanta Magazine Link to Story

Math Shall Set You Free—From Envy

May 1, 2014 — Maegan Ayers and her then-boyfriend, Nathan Socha, faced a dilemma in the fall of 2009. They had found the perfect little condo for sale in the Boston neighborhood of Jamaica Plain: on the ground floor, just a mile from the nearest “T” train station, and close by Boston’s Emerald Necklace, a seven-mile chain of parks and bike paths.
Nautilus Link to Story

Privacy by the Numbers: A New Approach to Safeguarding Data

December 10, 2012 — In 1997, when Massachusetts began making health records of state employees available to medical researchers, the government removed patients’ names, addresses, and Social Security numbers. William Weld, then the governor, assured the public that identifying individual patients in the records would be impossible.
Quanta Magazine Link to Story

An Uncertain Prognosis for Medicare Auctions: Part II

June 23, 2012
SIAM News Link to Story

An Uncertain Prognosis for Medicare Auctions: Part I

May 18, 2012 — In 1997, in an attempt to rein in the spiraling costs of health care, the U.S. Congress instructed Medicare to implement a competitive bidding process for suppliers of durable medical equipment---things like hospital beds, walkers, and oxygen tanks. Decades of research and practical demonstrations had suggested that the government could get a lot more bang for its buck by replacing its longstanding fee schedules with competitive auctions.
SIAM News Link to Story

Generous Players

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