Comics about mathematics, science, and the student life.

Paper Space

A winding journey from "Start Writing" to "Paper Complete". Includes "Initial burst", "Heavy revision", "Multiple dead ends", "Finding the story", and "Final edits".

My hope is that I will be able to set up trail markers to avoid chunks of this winding path in the future.

One Sentence

A scientist and a friend are discussing. The friend says, "You have one sentence to describe your work." The scientist replies, "Is a 2000 word, jargon-filled sentence okay?" Caption: We scientists need to work on our communication skills.

No, it’s not.

Approximate

Left panel: Two scientists are talking to each other. One says, "Those physicists are so smart. I bet they're doing rigorous work right now!" Right panel (Meanwhile): Two physicists are at a blackboard, thinking about a problem. One says, "How can we approximate our troubles away?"

When in doubt, approximate.

Decisions

Left panel (Unimportant, Short-Term): A person throws their hands up in the air and says, "Oh, I just can't decide!" Right panel (Important, Long-Term): The person says, "I'll just ignore this."

And then I wonder why I’m not happy with where I’m going.

Ease

A graph of the "Level of ease" versus time. It begins high, with people saying, "This is easy!" Then there's a dip, with the label, "Maybe not". Finally, the ease increases again, which marks becoming an expert.

That dip may take longer than pictured.

Opinions

A person talks to their friend who is pulling a wagon with a bunch of things in it. The person says, "What's all that?" Friend: "My opinions." Person: "It looks like some are from other people." Friend: "Oh, I just let them hop in."

I wonder about this all the time. Was I the person who put that opinion there?

Freedom

Left panel: A scientist says, "I love being an academic. So much freedom!" Right panel: The scientist is worried and says, "But what should I do?"

The eternal question for those trying to navigate their early academic career.

Generalize

Two mathematicians discussing a problem. Mathematician 1: "I'm stuck on my problem." Mathematician 2: "Remember the first rule of mathematics: Generalize until the problem becomes easy!"

The mathematicians that call a problem “trivial” are probably those that have gone up the ladder of abstraction way past where you can see.

Hits

Axis of time going from left to right. Many dots are on the screen, which are labelled "Average", while a few "x"s are labelled "Hits".

Do the work. Don’t wait for the hits, because you don’t know when they are coming.

Functional

A researcher pours their input into a monstrous constraption which is their code, complete with dead ends, snaking pipes, and dials. The scientist says, "At least my code runs!"

This is what I say before showing my code to others.