Charles Seife

Charles Seife is an American author and journalist, a professor at New York University. He has written extensively on scientific and mathematical topics.


Seife holds a mathematics degree from Princeton University (1993),[1] an M.S. in mathematics from Yale University and a M.S. in journalism from Columbia University.[2]

Seife wrote for Science magazine and New Scientist before joining the Department of Journalism at New York University where he became a professor.[2]


His first and best-known published book is Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea.[3] One review of this book described it as "one of the best-written popular science books ... for quite a while".[4] Another review, however, claimed that Seife gave contradictory information within the book as well as belittling the subject of the book as a whole.[5]

Another well-known book from Seife is Proofiness: How You're Being Fooled By the Numbers.[6] Here, Seife focuses on how much propaganda uses numbers worded in such a way that they confuse people and can be misinterpreted.[7]

Other books by Seife are:

  • Alpha & Omega: The Search for the Beginning and End of the Universe, Penguin Putnam, 2003. ISBN 0-670-03179-8
  • Decoding the Universe, Penguin, 2007. ISBN 978-0-14-303839-9
  • Sun in a Bottle: The Strange History of Fusion and the Science of Wishful Thinking, Viking, 2008. ISBN 978-0-670-02033-1[8]
  • Virtual Unreality: Just Because the Internet Told You, How Do You Know It’s True?, Penguin Putnam, 2014. ISBN 0-670-02608-5[9]

Other writing

His freelance work has appeared in The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Washington Post, The New York Times, Scientific American, and The Economist, among others.[2]

Throughout his career, Seife has written many book reviews, especially of books which focus on mathematics.

Professional associations

He is a member of PEN, the National Association of Science Writers, and the D.C. Science Writers Association.


  • 2001 PEN/Martha Albrand Award for First Nonfiction for Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea


  1. Greenwood, Katherine Federici (13 October 2010). Numbers can mislead - Charles Seife ’93 reveals mischief behind data, Princeton Alumni Weekly
  2. Journalism at NYU - Faculty Archived April 6, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  3. Seife, Charles (2000). Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea. New York: Penguin Books. ISBN 9780140296471.
  4. Nicholas Lezard, Explaining nothing, brilliantly, The Guardian, 22 March 2003
  5. Barrow-Green, June (2004). "Charles Seife: Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea". Isis. 95 (2): 279–280. doi:10.1086/426210.
  6. Seife, Charles (2010). Proofiness: How You're Being Fooled by the Numbers. New York: Penguin. ISBN 978-0-14-312007-0.
  7. Steven Strogatz, Fibbing With Numbers, The New York Times, 17 September 2010
  8. Seife, Charles (2008). Sun in a Bottle: The Strange History of Fusion and the Science of Wishful Thinking. ISBN 9780670020331.
  9. Seife, Charles (2015-08-04). Virtual Unreality: The New Era of Digital Deception. ISBN 9780143127673; pbk
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