Comics about mathematics, science, and the student life.

Development Trajectories

A graph of development trajectories for different research fields over time. "Application is a linear function of time. Above it is a rapidly increasing function which has the label "Theory". The growing distance between the two over time is a hype bubble. Below the "Application" function is one that increases more slowly and is another possible trajectory for "Theory". For this one, the distance to "Applications" has the label, "Woah, let's be careful!"

Both theory trajectories can lead to exciting times, but when it comes to science (as opposed to mathematics), I feel like we should try and stick somewhat close to the application (or experiment) curve.

Interdisciplinary Fruit

A graph of "Low-hanging fruit" versus "Interdisciplinary". The curve increases rapidly, indicating that there's a lot of low-hanging fruit when you do interdisciplinary work.

The hard part is finding the right people and figuring out which questions to ask. Oh, and finding people that aren’t so siloed away that they will care about your work.


A student hands in her final exam to her professor. She says, "Here's my test." He says, "Thanks. You'll get your grade in a few weeks." She asks, "Will I get to see my mistakes?" He answers, "Why would you care about that?"

If we really cared about learning, we’d take the time to go over the mistakes of a student. Instead, complete silence and then a numerical grade follows a final exam, without much other context.

Speed of Understanding

A graph of "Speed" versus "How easy it is for beginners to understand your code". The function is decreasing linearly, indicating a loss of speed when the code is easier to understand.

Actually, speedy code is often illegible to me, even if I have years of experience.

Enthusiastic Fun

A graph of "Fun" versus "Enthusiasm". The graph is linearly increasing.

When you get into what you’re doing, it’s so much better.

Poking Holes

Two friends are walking. One asks his friend, "What have you learned from being stuck so long?" She answers, "I'm *really* good at finding holes in new ideas!"

“I sometimes even find holes in old ideas!”

Summer Availability

A graph of problems coordinating meetings versus time of year. The number of problems is low everywhere except for summer, where it spikes up.

(As the final meeting before summer wraps up)

Student: “So I’ll keep you updated on the progress–”

Professor: “Alright, see you in a few months!”

Application Timeline

A timeline of an application on a logarithmic scale. It begins with you seeing the application. Then in the future, you submit. Then you wait a long time before you give up. After MUCH longer, you finally get an automated rejection.

“I’m sorry, but we think you aren’t the right fit for our typewriter manufacturing job. Please consider us for future opportunities.”


A grad student talks to a new student. She says, "Welcome to the group! Here's our motto." The student reads the motto on his phone: "I thought this would be easier."? She says, "You'll learn quickly."

“By the time you’ve graduated from the group, you won’t think anything is easy!”

Rare Events

A density graph of conversation quality. Most conversations are of low quality but there are some outliers. There's an arrow pointing to those outliers with the text, "Take the time to appreciate them".

Good conversations are so nourishing.