Comics about mathematics, science, and the student life.

Jargon Absorption Coefficient

A one dimensional line labeled "Jargon Absorption Coefficient (words/min)", increasing to the right. On the left are kids, then your parents who can absorb a bit more, then scientists, and finally, pseudoscientists.

After the pseudoscientists, you get people who only speak in buzzwords.


A graph of "Time spent reacting" versus "Saying 'yes'". The curve is positive and linear.

There’s a time and a place to feel like you’re clinging to a piece of driftwood in a turbulent sea. The time is never and the place is the sea.

Slide Difficulty

Left panel (Caption: Making slides): A scientist sits at their desk, working on their laptop. They say, "Oh, they'll all think this is too easy." Right panel (Caption: Presenting): The scientist is on stage with their slides. The audience is watching and thinking, "Why are they going so fast?"

The curse of expertise: Your “easy” slides are often the only ones that will stick in the mind of listener. So don’t rush through them!

Learning Hill

Left panel (Caption: What we want learning to be like): A person walks up a uniform incline while saying, "Smooth and steady!" Right panel (Caption: In reality): A person stares up at the craggy path, filled with deep gouges and sharp edges. She's holding her hands on her hips and says, "Well."

Nothing makes you appreciate the journey of learning than many twists and scrapes!

Head Space

Graph of "Having fun" versus "Getting outside your own head". The graph is positive and linear.

Optional but helpful ingredient: Be with others.


A person rides in a hot air balloon with the label "Uplifting Feedback". An arrow is flying through the air towards the balloon, with the label, "One small piece of negative feedback."

No matter how uplifting the balloon is, one arrow is enough to bring it down.

Scientific Careers

A large blob representing the space of scientific careers. A small box inside has the label "Scientists", and within it, a student says, "But if I'm not a scientist, I will have to leave science!"

It’s so incredible to me that the conventional path into science that many students see is one of being a researcher, though there are many other roles.


A graph of "Ease of calculating a defined quantity" versus "How abstract a paper is". As abstractness increases, the function curves downwards and eventually plummets to zero.

“Oh, this quantity in the summary looks like the perfect thing I need for my project!”

(Reads paper more carefully and gets lost in the mathematics.)

“And…maybe this isn’t so useful.”


Left panel (Caption: On your own): A person moving against a headwind. Right panel (Caption: On a team): A person running with a tailwind.

Don’t go at it alone because of the slight startup costs in gathering a team. Working with a great team is so rewarding.


Two students in the same research group are walking together. One asks, "Ready to present at the journal club today?" The friend says, "Of course." "So you'll share a good paper you've read?" she asks. The friend responds, "Well, I didn't actually *read* it yet, but I'm sure I can present the gist of it from the title!"

Pro tip: To make it seem like you’ve read the whole thing, pick some random sentence deep in the paper and bring it up during your presentation.