Erica Klarreich

Contributing Correspondent

computer security

Computer Scientists Achieve ‘Crown Jewel’ of Cryptography

November 10, 2020

A cryptographic master tool called indistinguishability obfuscation has for years seemed too good to be true. Three researchers have figured out that it can work.

An illustration of computer scientists looking down a new road that breaks open a traveling salesperson route.
algorithms

Computer Scientists Break Traveling Salesperson Record

October 8, 2020

After 44 years, there’s finally a better way to find approximate solutions to the notoriously difficult traveling salesperson problem.

An illustration of an ant walking in a straight line around a dodecahedron.
Abstractions blog

Mathematicians Report New Discovery About the Dodecahedron

August 31, 2020

Three mathematicians have resolved a fundamental question about straight paths on the 12-sided Platonic solid.

number theory

Landmark Math Proof Clears Hurdle in Top Erdős Conjecture

August 3, 2020

Two mathematicians have proved the first leg of Paul Erdős’ all-time favorite problem about number patterns.

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.

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.