Erica Klarreich

Freelance Mathematics and Science Journalist

Berkeley, California

Erica Klarreich

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


The Oracle of Arithmetic

June 28, 2016 — In 2010, a startling rumor filtered through the number theory community and reached Jared Weinstein. Apparently, some graduate student at the University of Bonn in Germany had written a paper that redid “Harris-Taylor” — a 288-page book dedicated to a single impenetrable proof in number theory — in only 37 pages.
Quanta Magazine Link to Story

A Brazilian Wunderkind Who Calms Chaos

August 12, 2014 — Artur Avila’s solutions to ubiquitous problems in chaos theory have earned him Brazil’s first Fields Medal. It was pouring rain on a chilly spring day, and Artur Avila was marooned at the University of Paris Jussieu campus, minus the jacket he had misplaced before boarding a red-eye from Chicago. “Let’s wait,” said the Brazilian mathematician in a sleep-deprived drawl, his snug black T-shirt revealing the approximate physique of a sturdy World Cup midfielder.
Quanta Magazine Link to Story

The Musical, Magical Number Theorist

August 12, 2014 — The search for artistic truth and beauty has led Manjul Bhargava to some of the most profound recent discoveries in number theory. For Manjul Bhargava, the counting numbers don’t simply line themselves up in a demure row.
Quanta magazine Link to Story

A Tenacious Explorer of Abstract Surfaces

August 12, 2014 — As an 8-year-old, Maryam Mirzakhani used to tell herself stories about the exploits of a remarkable girl. Every night at bedtime, her heroine would become mayor, travel the world or fulfill some other grand destiny.
Quanta Magazine Link to Story

A Grand Vision for the Impossible

August 12, 2014 — One summer afternoon in 2001, while visiting relatives in India, Subhash Khot drifted into his default mode — quietly contemplating the limits of computation.
Quanta Magazine Link to Story

Science Lives: Richard Karp

December 13, 2013 — When theoretical computer scientist Richard Karp began his graduate studies at Harvard University in 1955, there were no computer science departments. No one had even coined the term “computer science.”. The discipline was “somewhere between nonexistent and primitive,” he recalls. Nearly 60 years later, Karp, who at 78 still maintains an active research career, has done more than almost any other theoretical computer scientist to shape the discipline.
Simons Foundation Link to Story

Science Lives: Robion Kirby

November 26, 2013 — In 1963, rising mathematical star John Milnor set forth a list of what he considered the seven hardest and most important problems in the nascent field of geometric topology. Just five years later, no fewer than four of those problems had been laid to rest, largely through the efforts of a young mathematics professor whose entry into mathematics research had seemed anything but auspicious.
Simons Foundation Link to Story

Science Lives: Michael Freedman

November 12, 2013 — By his family’s standards, Michael Freedman might be considered a bit of a slouch. The Fields Medal, the National Medal of Science and a MacArthur Foundation fellowship are all very well, but they don’t erase the fact that he completed high school at the ripe old age of 17 — four years older than his father, Ben Freedman, and five years older than his uncle, David Freedman.
Simons Foundation Link to Story

The Mathematics of Strategy

January 1, 2004 — What does it mean to behave rationally? This question sounds like a problem for philosophers. Yet mathematicians also have something to say about it. In the last few decades, game theory—the mathematical study of strategies and decision-making—has shed crucial light on the nature of rational behavior.
Classics of the Scientific Literature Link to Story


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