Comics about mathematics, science, and the student life.

Change of Variables

First panel. Student: "Professor, why do we always use 'x' for all of our computations?" Professor 1: "You don't have to, it's just a label." Second panel, two weeks later in quantum mechanics. Professor 2: "Can I see you after class?" Student: "Sure." Third panel, Professor 2 pointing to the student's homework, which replaced the standard symbol for the wavefunction with a smiley face. Professor 2: "What is this atrocity?!" Student: "Another professor said we could use whatever label we wanted, because they don't matter." Fourth panel. Professor 2: "Never do this again. The wavefunction is always written as psi. You might be able to get away with this in mathematics, but we physicists have conventions!" Fifth panel. Professor 2: "What are you going to do next, change pi for a picture of a pie?" Student scratching their head: "Can I maybe get an extension for this next assignment?"

This comic might make it seem like only physicists have these notational conventions, but don’t worry, those mathematicians are just as caught up in their ways!