Susan D'Agostino

Contributing Writer

Q&A

To Boldly Go Where No Internet Protocol Has Gone Before

October 21, 2020

Vinton Cerf helped create the internet 40 years ago, and he’s still working to connect people around the world — and off it.

Photo of emperor penguins huddling together for warmth, with two sticking their heads out
Abstractions blog

Math of the Penguins

August 17, 2020

Emperor penguins display rigorously geometric spacing and mathematical efficiency when they huddle together for warmth, which may reveal secrets to their overall health.

Visualization of the distribution of prime numbers in the shape of colorful dots in a hexagonal pattern
Abstractions blog

Mathematicians Will Never Stop Proving the Prime Number Theorem

July 22, 2020

Why do mathematicians enjoy proving the same results in different ways?

Q&A

The Computer Scientist Who Can’t Stop Telling Stories

April 16, 2020

For pioneering computer scientist Donald Knuth, good coding is synonymous with beautiful expression.

Photo of Ronald Rivest sitting in his office
Q&A

Cryptography Pioneer Seeks Secure Elections the Low-Tech Way

March 12, 2020

Ronald Rivest helped come up with the RSA algorithm, which safeguards online commerce. Now he’s hoping to make democratic elections more trustworthy.

Photo of Scarlett Howard, a researcher at the University of Toulouse, working with honeybees
Q&A

Secrets of Math From the Bee Whisperer

January 22, 2020

As Scarlett Howard taught honeybees to do arithmetic, they showed her how fundamental numbers might be to all brains.

Q&A

The Architect of Modern Algorithms

November 20, 2019

Barbara Liskov pioneered the modern approach to writing code. She warns that the challenges facing computer science today can’t be overcome with good design alone.

About the author

Susan D’Agostino is the author of the general-interest math book, How To Free Your Inner Mathematician: Notes on Mathematics and Life (Oxford University Press, 2020). Her writing has been published in QuantaThe Atlantic, Scientific American, Discover, Undark, NatureFinancial Times, Slate, and Ms. She earned a PhD in Mathematics at Dartmouth College and is currently pursuing an MA in science writing at Johns Hopkins University. Follow her on Twitter @susan_dagostino.