Comics about mathematics, science, and the student life.

Possibility of Failure

A graph of "Sense of possibility" versus "Fear of failure". As fear increases, the possibilities decrease.

Instead of seeing failure as a binary quantity (either it happened or it didn’t), perhaps it’s more healthy to adopt the view that there’s always going to be some amount of failure, and our job is to limit it as much as possible.


A graph of "Fun" versus "Taking yourself too seriously". It's a negative, linear relationship.

“How much others enjoy being around you” is often a correlated variable here.

Command Line

A scientist sits at their desk, one hand covering their eyes and the other hand hovering over their laptop's keyboard. "Here goes nothing..." they say. Caption: Me every time I use the command line.

I’m sure my running watch picks up a spike in heart rate in these critical moments.

Well Written

Two scientists (a woman and man) are discussing a paper. The first one says, "This paper is written pretty well." The second one says, "You enjoyed reading it?" The other responds, "Oh no, I just skimmed the headers. But it *looks* good."

“The authors had good typographic taste, so I can tell the rest of the paper is good.”


A graph of "Understanding" versus "Nodding". The curve goes up and then has a long tail where more nodding means less understanding.

“Wait, I always thought those blank looks and nodding meant that what I was teaching was too easy…?”


A theorist and realist are discussing a research proposal. The theorist asks, "So...can you do it?" The realist looks at the proposal and responds, "Your experiment would cost 10 billion, requires more energy than we can produce on Earth, and breaks 50 laws of practical physics." She answers, "So...maybe?"

“Well, 50 isn’t infinity, so can’t you just improve your equipment?”


A researcher stands on top of a hill and drops a snowball, saying, "A little hype is fine." At the bottom of the hill, the snowball has become huge, with a lot of momentum. The huge snowball has the label, "What it soon turns into."

“Hmm, who would have thought that would happen?”


Two scientists are talking about a problem. The first says, "You made a lot of simplifications here." "I kept everything that mattered." "You removed 97% of the problem." The friend throws her arms in the air and says, "And now I have an exact solution!"

“But it’s not what I wanted to solve–”

“I know, it’s even better.”

Sock Classification

A series of socks and their topological equivalence to standard objects. A new sock has no holes and so has genus zero, like a sphere. A used sock has one hole, so it has the same genus as a torus (genus one). The final sock is my sock, and it's what happens when you take the limit of the genus going to infinity.

In surprising news, my socks provided a new avenue into the classification of topological spaces.

Future Problems

Graph of "Problems for future you" versus "Inability to say no". The curve rapidly increases.

“I really want to prove you wrong, but I’ll do it later.”