Comics about mathematics, science, and the student life.


Left panel: A researcher and her grad student are at a blackboard. She says, "Let's come up with an algorithm." Middle panel: Much later, the grad student is sitting on a bench with his arms in the air and complains, "This isn't working. We've wasted so much time!" Right panel: The researcher replies, "Of course not. We can now write a *physics* paper explaining why things don't work."

When you can’t succeed at the computer science, turn to the physics.

Hat tip to my supervisor for the rationale!


A woman holds one hand to her chin as she views a conveyor belt bringing too many boxes her way. She says, "Maybe I shouldn't have said 'yes' to everything..."

Actually, those are just the items from a few years ago that we really should be clearing out.

Scientific Writing

Left panel: A scientist unearths a discovery and shouts, "Finally, I've uncovered it!" Upper right panel ("Good Writing"): The scientist hands his publication to a colleague in a nice package and says, "Here it is, all polished." Bottom right panel ("Bad Writing"): The scientists hands his publication to a colleague in the exact same form he found it and says, "It's exactly how I found it!"

“Sorry, I can’t stay and chat about it. I have 10 other publications I’m working on right now.”


A portrait of a graduate student drawing a boat instead of working. Caption: Portrait of a grad student procrastinating.

“I’m not procrastinating, I’m thinking of my research problem!”


A graph of "How easy it is to solve" versus "Proximity to the problem". It's an inverse relationship, with it being harder to solve the problem when it's closer to you.

Without that emotional attachment, it sure is easy to prescribe what to do for others!


Left panel: A person crosses his arms and says, "It's time to finally start this project!" Right panel (Caption: 8 hours later): A friend approaches him and asks, "How's it going?" He replies to her, "I've almost chosen a font."

“Then I can choose the type size and maybe even write an outline!”


A person raises a fist and says, "Okay, I'm ready and motivated!" His colleague then says, "Ah, you'll have to wait. I'm not close to done my part." Caption: Teamwork.

It’s even better if you increase the number of people involved!


A graph of "Ease of pivoting" versus "Success". The graph decreases rapidly as you become successful.

This is why it can be good to regularly reflect on if you’re doing the work you want to be doing.


Snapshots of a person over time. When they are young, they say, "I used to be a kid, but now I'll never change." A few years later, an older version of that kid says, "That past me was silly. Of course I changed, but now I'm done." Another few years pass and the person says, "I've been an adult for years now, so I'm sure I'm done changing." Finally, they are old and walking with a cane when they say, "I never knew what I was talking about!"

The optimistic lesson: There’s always time to change.

Work Acknowledgement

A line graph that shows the portion of your work that's visible to others. A small portion is visible, but most is invisible. Be sure you're happy with the invisible parts.

I try to remind myself that there are many ways to find joy in the work.