Comics about mathematics, science, and the student life.

Law of Inertia

A balance has items on both of its dishes. On the left, there's a large box labeled, "Cons". On the right, there are two boxes. A smaller one labeled, "Pros", and a larger one labeled "Inertia". Caption: Why we take so long to change.

Tip: Make sure you don’t relabel “Inertia” as a “Pro”.


A scientist stands at the board about to begin her talk. She says, "Thanks for coming to my interdisciplinary talk. You're a smart bunch, so I'll assume you know all of the background I've spent my life studying." Caption: How to kick off a talk.

“I’ll take blank stares as a ‘Yes, we understand’!”


A graph of "Reliance on jargon" versus "Time spent with the jargon". It's a linear relationship.

The problem is that those who have the influence and power to switch away from the jargon are those that don’t see it as jargon anymore, but just the usual language.


A bunch of stacked boxes of various sizes. Some are: Family, parents, one mean peer, school, internet, friends, me. The caption: It was a shock to realize I wasn't the source of most of my goals.

A lot of what is in your brain was not put there by you. (Hat tip to Tim Urban.)


A group of dots on the top (representing young scientists) and a group of squares on the bottom (representing professor positions). There are many more young scientists than professor positions, so only a few dots connect to a square. On the left is the caption, "Let's remember there are other careers."

This is a note to self.


An axis going from the past (on the left) to the future (on the right). A person stands in the centre, with binoculars looking to the future and thinking, "I hope I don't screw up like last time." The caption underneath the person is, "Never in the present".

You only get to experience the present.


A horizontal axis labelled, "Hour of day". During the main hours of the day (separated by dotted lines) there is "Work". A woman stands inside of the boundaries, while a man is pushing the boundary to increase it. The woman says, "What are you doing?!" The man says, "You should love your work enough to always be thinking about it."

Be wary of “Do what you love”.


A graph of "Stress" over "How much you see your work as a reflection of yourself." The curve increases exponentially.

The sad part is that it’s very easy to move to the right of the curve.


A graph of "Fear" versus "Trying new things". There's an initial hump, and then the fear diminishes. At the peak, there's a label, "Get over the hump".

The hump can be tall, but it is surmountable.


A graph of "Progress" over time, with two linearly growing curves. The top one is labelled, "Invisible", while the bottom one is "Visible". There's a double-headed arrow stretching between the gap, with the caption, "You're not your CV."

Remember: Progress and growth is a multidimensional affair, and people often don’t see the full picture.