Erica Klarreich

Contributing Correspondent

number theory

Mathematicians Shed Light on Elliptic Curves

Two young mathematicians are illuminating a frontier in the study of rational solutions to polynomial equations: the cubics.

Yitang Zhang
Mathematics

Unheralded Mathematician Bridges the Prime Gap

A virtually unknown researcher has made a great advance in one of mathematics’ oldest problems, the twin primes conjecture.

symmetry

How to Make Impossible Wallpaper

A new collection of arresting wallpaper designs seems to defy the crystallographic restriction.

traveling salesman problem

Computer Scientists Take Road Less Traveled

An infinitesimal advance in the traveling salesman problem breathes new life into the search for improved approximate solutions.

cryptography

Privacy by the Numbers: A New Approach to Safeguarding Data

A mathematical technique called “differential privacy” gives researchers access to vast repositories of personal data while meeting a high standard for privacy protection.

Mathematics

Getting Into Shapes: From Hyperbolic Geometry to Cube Complexes and Back

Thirty years after William Thurston articulated a grand mathematical vision, a proof by Ian Agol marks the end of an era in the study of three-dimensional shapes.