Freelance Mathematics and Science Journalist

Berkeley, California

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."

Freelance Mathematics and Science Journalist

Berkeley, California

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."

### What Is the Geometry of the Universe?

March 16, 2020 — In our mind’s eye, the universe seems to go on forever. But using geometry we can explore a variety of three-dimensional shapes that offer alternatives to “ordinary” infinite space.### Karen Uhlenbeck, Uniter of Geometry and Analysis, Wins Abel Prize

March 19, 2019 — A founder of modern geometric analysis who produced “some of the most dramatic advances in mathematics in the last 40 years,” Uhlenbeck is the first woman to be awarded this top honor.### Math Duo Maps the Infinite Terrain of Minimal Surfaces

March 12, 2019 — A pair of mathematicians has built on an obscure, 30-year-old mathematical theory to show that soap-filmlike minimal surfaces appear abundantly in a wide range of shapes.### 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.### 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.”### Moonshine Link Discovered for Pariah Symmetries

September 22, 2017 — In 1892, the mathematician Otto Hölder posed a question that would occupy the field for more than a century: Is it possible to make a periodic table of all finite symmetry? The answer, to which hundreds of mathematicians have contributed, is yes. But the taxonomy that emerged from this monumental effort has prompted both enlightenment and head scratching.### ‘Outsiders’ Crack 50-Year-Old Math Problem

November 24, 2015 — In 2008, Daniel Spielman told his Yale University colleague Gil Kalai about a computer science problem he was working on, concerning how to “sparsify” a network so that it has fewer connections between nodes but still preserves the essential features of the original network. Network sparsification has applications in data compression and efficient computation, but Spielman’s particular problem suggested something different to Kalai.### For Persi Diaconis’ Next Magic Trick …

April 14, 2015 — Persi Diaconis shuffled and cut the deck of cards I’d brought for him, while I promised not to reveal his secrets. “I’m not going to give you the chance,” he retorted. In an empty conference room at the Joint Mathematics Meetings in San Antonio, Texas, this January, he casually tossed the cards into four piles in a seemingly random motion — yet when he checked, each pile magically had an ace on top.### Mathematicians Chase Moonshine’s Shadow

March 12, 2015 — In 1978, the mathematician John McKay noticed what seemed like an odd coincidence. He had been studying the different ways of representing the structure of a mysterious entity called the monster group, a gargantuan algebraic object that, mathematicians believed, captured a new kind of symmetry. Mathematicians weren’t sure that the monster group actually existed, but they knew that if it did exist, it acted in special ways in particular dimensions, the first two of which were 1 and 196,883.### A Fluid New Path in Grand Math Challenge

February 24, 2014 — In Dr. Seuss’s book “The Cat in the Hat Comes Back,” the Cat makes a stain he can’t clean up, so he calls upon the help of Little Cat A, a smaller, perfect replica of the Cat who has been hiding under the Cat’s hat. Little Cat A then calls forth Little Cat B, an even smaller replica hidden under Little Cat A’s hat.### The Proof in the Quantum Pudding

August 21, 2013 — In early May, news reports gushed that a quantum computation device had for the first time outperformed classical computers, solving certain problems thousands of times faster. The media coverage sent ripples of excitement through the technology community. A full-on quantum computer, if ever built, would revolutionize large swathes of computer science, running many algorithms dramatically faster, including one that could crack most encryption protocols in use today.### Navigating Celestial Currents

April 16, 2005 — Math leads spacecraft on joy rides through the solar system.### Take a Chance

December 4, 2004 — Scientists put randomness to work.### The Shape of Space

November 8, 2003 — Have cosmologists glimpsed signs that the Universe is bounded?### Knotty Calculations

February 22, 2003 — A quantum version of braids could lay the groundwork for tomorrow's computers.### Discovery of Coupled Oscillation Put 17th-Century Scientist Ahead of his Time

October 1, 2002 — Theoretical physicists make their best discoveries while staring at the wall, but experimental physicists do so less often.

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