Comics about mathematics, science, and the student life.


Left panel: "Well, I finally have some time off." Right panel: (Dumping a bucket filled with tasks into a wheelbarrow) "Might as well fill the time up as fast as I can!"

It’s the only responsible thing to do.


Left panel: (Reading the abstract) "Wow, this will be a very cool, multidisciplinary paper!" Right panel: (After reading) "And, fooled again..."

I always love reading the introduction to papers, because they show me just how far scientists go to stretch their field to touch every part of life. Unfortunately, it rarely continues into the main part of the paper.

Promising Paths

Left panel: (What we want) A clear path with a sign pointing to new work. Right panel: (In reality) A dense jungle with no path, and a person asking, "I wonder if there could be something good this way?"

The trick to being a scientific icon is to carve that first small footpath, and then convince others to work on making it a lot more friendly!


"What's it like to be a scientist?" "It's being in a state of perpetual confusion." "" "Oh, it's the best in the world!"

I start getting worried if I’m not confused at least fifteen times a week.

Breathing Room

A large area which represents the intrusive thoughts of others, while a smaller region is the quiet island of your own thoughts.

If you’ve ever had a song stuck in your head, this is exactly the problem.

Knot Theory

A comparison of stories. On the left, a satisfying story that has its threads start off untangled, get knotted in the middle, and then are untangled at the end. On the right, an unsatisfying story that has its threads all tangled and knotted, without any resolution.

The truth though is that the best stories leave me wanting more, with some of the minor threads still a little knotted.


Time needed to get back into a coding project versus time away from it. The graph starts negative, since I spend even my off-time thinking about it. But after a certain threshold, there's a phase transition where you end up wondering if you even wrote it.

I’m just beginning my two-week vacation now, so we’ll see how it goes when I return!


A bird looking at a human: "Wow, that big brain is amazing! You must do a lot with it?" Human: "Nah, I use it mostly as a storage bin."

I do sometimes try to use it for creativity.

Data Collection

Left panel: The black box computer says, "Here are your results after eight hours of computation." The student says, "Thanks!". Right panel: The student says, "So I finished collecting the data." The professor says, "Oh, why don't you try this small tweak?"

The number of “small tweaks” asked of you is inversely proportional to the effort needed to implement them.


Two skiers. The one at the top: "This seems a little dangerous..." The one already zooming down: "Just go with the flow!" Caption: Rigour meets handwaving.

Or is it the physicist meeting the mathematician?