Comics about mathematics, science, and the student life.

Exposition Problem

Left panel (Research): Scientific leader says to a researcher, "This is a great discovery!" Right panel (Exposition): Leader says to another researcher, "Could you focus more on new discoveries than research?"

If only we placed as much emphasis on creating good exposition.

Citation Trail

Graph of the overlap with the original claim as a function of citation trail. The message gradually has less overlap, and becomes corrupted later.

This is why you want to deal with the original source.


A graduate student is with their supervisor. Graduate student: "Here's my work." Supervisor: "Hmm...why didn't you try what I usually do?" Graduate student: "But look at what I *did*!" Supervisor: "Yes, yes, that's great. Now, can you do this?"

Ah, the joys of being blinded by your usual ways.

Paper Space

A winding journey from "Start Writing" to "Paper Complete". Includes "Initial burst", "Heavy revision", "Multiple dead ends", "Finding the story", and "Final edits".

My hope is that I will be able to set up trail markers to avoid chunks of this winding path in the future.

One Sentence

A scientist and a friend are discussing. The friend says, "You have one sentence to describe your work." The scientist replies, "Is a 2000 word, jargon-filled sentence okay?" Caption: We scientists need to work on our communication skills.

No, it’s not.


Left panel: Two scientists are talking to each other. One says, "Those physicists are so smart. I bet they're doing rigorous work right now!" Right panel (Meanwhile): Two physicists are at a blackboard, thinking about a problem. One says, "How can we approximate our troubles away?"

When in doubt, approximate.


Left panel (Unimportant, Short-Term): A person throws their hands up in the air and says, "Oh, I just can't decide!" Right panel (Important, Long-Term): The person says, "I'll just ignore this."

And then I wonder why I’m not happy with where I’m going.


A graph of the "Level of ease" versus time. It begins high, with people saying, "This is easy!" Then there's a dip, with the label, "Maybe not". Finally, the ease increases again, which marks becoming an expert.

That dip may take longer than pictured.


A person talks to their friend who is pulling a wagon with a bunch of things in it. The person says, "What's all that?" Friend: "My opinions." Person: "It looks like some are from other people." Friend: "Oh, I just let them hop in."

I wonder about this all the time. Was I the person who put that opinion there?


Left panel: A scientist says, "I love being an academic. So much freedom!" Right panel: The scientist is worried and says, "But what should I do?"

The eternal question for those trying to navigate their early academic career.