Comics about mathematics, science, and the student life.

Broken

Regular people are devastated when their work is broken. Scientists are happy to have science break, unless it's their own work.

I need to call Customer Service to the Universe and demand an explanation. Clearly I should have been right!

Right Questions

Research sometimes sounds like going from A to B, but really, most of the time is spent wondering if you're asking the right question.

Most of my struggles in research start here.

Introduction Slide

A researcher presenting, with a slide showing that their project was formed by choosing a bunch of buzzword and blending them together.

“That’s not how you pick your research projects? Huh, I guess that’s why you don’t get as much funding as I do…”

Learning Curve

A list of instructions, with comments on the side pointing out all of the hidden assumptions. There are a lot of them!

In my experience, the bulk of my work as a PhD student is uncovering all of the hidden assumptions in papers I read.

(And hopefully, making sure I write down the explanation to them for both my future self and others!)

Vague

A researcher goes to read a reference to find their "Methods" section, only to realize the reference is 519 papes long with no indication of where to look.

This has to be in the top three most maddening habits of researchers.

Objectivity

Thinking that scientists are all objective is a convenient fiction.

Scientists are humans. Humans do strange things that aren’t always objective.

I’ll let you do the rest.

Subspace

My research area is a subspace of a subspace of a subspace.

I’m a quantum-entanglement-many-body-physics theorist. If you want more words shoved in, I can accommodate!

Fragmented

Trying to understand a paper often includes reading a ton of other papers. This is academia's version of "batteries not included".

The best part is that the papers that really help me understand aren’t often the cited ones.

Oh, who am I kidding? It’s usually the Physics or Quantum Computing StackExchange which give me the answers I need.

Exposure

Seeing researcher's code has made me appreciate how great most apps are by comparison.

Of course, the worst researcher’s code I’ve seen is often my own.

Cutting Edge

Trying to climb a very steep slope is the metaphor for research.

The best feeling is when you discover there’s actually a flight of stairs on the other side.