Erica Klarreich has been writing about mathematics and science for more than a decade. 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.”

Richard Karp

When theoretical computer scientist Richard Karp began his graduate studies at Harvard University in 1955, there were no computer science departments. No one had even coined the term “computer science.” The discipline was “somewhere between nonexistent and primitive,” he recalls. Nearly 60 years later, Karp, who at 78 still maintains an active research career, has […]

Robion Kirby

In 1963, rising mathematical star John Milnor set forth a list of what he considered the seven hardest and most important problems in the nascent field of geometric topology. Just five years later, no fewer than four of those problems had been laid to rest, largely through the efforts of a young mathematics professor whose […]

Michael Freedman

By his family’s standards, Michael Freedman might be considered a bit of a slouch. The Fields Medal, the National Medal of Science and a MacArthur Foundation fellowship are all very well, but they don’t erase the fact that he completed high school at the ripe old age of 17 — four years older than his […]