Comics about mathematics, science, and the student life.

Work Cycle

Two words: "Work" and "Celebrate". They are joined in a cycle by two arrows, and there is a third arrow that creates a self-loop for "Work". The label for that self-loop says, "A bad shortcut".

It’s always worth it to rest and celebrate.


Two aliens are flying above a hill on Earth in a spaceship. The first one says, "I don't understand it. They have hundreds of telescopes, so they must know *something* about the stars!" The second replies, "Not according to these 'astrology' books I found."

“Wait…What if they know more than we do?”

Time Estimates

A bar graph of frequency for different projected time estimates. The largest bar is the "Underestimate", there's a smaller bar for estimates that correspond to the "Actual" time, and a minuscule portion for the "Overestimate".

I can settle for being wrong with all my time estimates. Just please make them overestimates!

Learning Curves

Top-left: Gentle, with a curve increasing slowly. Top-right: Linear, with a curve increasing linearly. Bottom-left: Steep, with a curve rapidly increasing. Bottom-right: Discontinuous, with a curve as a series of steps.

Not pictured: Non-monotonic, which is what I suspect most of us end up experiencing.

Questions and Confusion

A graph of two curves as a function of time. The first one increases exponentially with time has the label "Time required to clear up confusion", while the second one decreases linearly with time and has the label "Time left to answer questions". The caption under the whole comic is "Most presentations".

“We have time for two questions.” Pauses and checks the time. “Make that two quick questions.”

Time Management

Two friends walk together. The first one says, "I really learned a lot about time management during my PhD." The friend says, "Oh yeah? So you're more efficient now?" The first one replies, "Not at all, but I now keep expectations super low."

“I also learned that research is super-duper hard. Maybe I should have realized that going in.”


On the left is a person standing, and above them is a dotted line representing their height, with the label, "Research conclusions". On the right is a person standing with their arm extended high into the air, pushing the dotted line higher. The label is, "The hyped-up version in a paper".

You wanted a study with a lot of reach, right?


A graph of "Frequency" versus "Time". The relationship is linear, and the label for the line says, "Unique errors and wisdom".

As long as you keep accumulating those unique errors, you’re growing.

Academic Emergency Kit

A collection of items in the academic emergency kit: A USB drive with impromptu presentations, an ideas notebook, papers to read when bored, and many different writing implements, including chalk, a pencil, and a whiteboard marker.

What do you carry in your kit?

Professor Exposure

A graph of "Desire to be an academic" versus "Exposure only to professors". The relationship is linear. The linear curve has a label, "Why grad students forget there are other careers."

When I was young, nobody I knew was in academia, so I didn’t even know this was a possibility. It seems like I’ve hit the other extreme in higher education.