Erica Klarreich

Contributing Correspondent

A photograph of the mathematician James Maynard outside his home in Oxford, England.
profile

A Number Theorist Who Solves the Hardest Easy Problems

July 1, 2020

In his rapid ascent to the top of his field, James Maynard has cut a path through simple-sounding questions about prime numbers that have stumped mathematicians for centuries.

An illustration of a knot that mathematicians might study using tools called invariants.
abstractions blog

In a Single Measure, Invariants Capture the Essence of Math Objects

June 2, 2020

To distinguish between fundamentally different objects, mathematicians turn to invariants that encode the objects’ essential features.

knot theory

Graduate Student Solves Decades-Old Conway Knot Problem

May 19, 2020

It took Lisa Piccirillo less than a week to answer a long-standing question about a strange knot discovered over half a century ago by the legendary John Conway.

Langlands program

‘Amazing’ Math Bridge Extended Beyond Fermat’s Last Theorem

April 6, 2020

Mathematicians have figured out how to expand the reach of a mysterious bridge connecting two distant continents in the mathematical world.

Multimedia

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.

combinatorics

Decades-Old Computer Science Conjecture Solved in Two Pages

July 25, 2019

The “sensitivity” conjecture stumped many top computer scientists, yet the new proof is so simple that one researcher summed it up in a single tweet.

Art for "A 53-Year-Old Network Coloring Conjecture Is Disproved"
graph theory

A 53-Year-Old Network Coloring Conjecture Is Disproved

June 17, 2019

In just three pages, a Russian mathematician has presented a better way to color certain types of networks than many experts thought possible.

Art for "How Feynman Diagrams Revolutionized Physics"
sphere packing

Out of a Magic Math Function, One Solution to Rule Them All

May 13, 2019

Mathematicians used “magic functions” to prove that two highly symmetric lattices solve a myriad of problems in eight- and 24-dimensional space.

Art for "Karen Uhlenbeck, Uniter of Geometry and Analysis, Wins Abel Prize"
Abel Prize

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.

About the author

Erica Klarreich has been writing about mathematics and science for more than 15 years. She has a doctorate in mathematics from Stony Brook University and is a graduate of the Science Communication Program at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Her work has been reprinted in The Best Writing on Mathematics 2010 and The Best Writing on Mathematics 2011.