Comics about mathematics, science, and the student life.


First panel. An old map with a bunch of confused paths represents a student. Second panel. A high-tech GPS receiver represents the supervisor.

This is why your supervisor is confused that you are confused.


First panel. A researcher stands near the edge of the waters of science, holding a vial of liquid: "Time to add my new work to the oceans of science!" Second panel. The researcher empties the vial, and apart from a splash, nothing changes: "Well, I thought it was going to be a bit more exciting than that."

Ah, the realities of doing science (any almost any other kind of work).


Person holding a lamp and rubbing it: "Alright, I'm going to for a cure for aging, a solution to climate change, a way for everyone to have an individualized education, a good theory of consciousness, what to do about that trolley problem..."

“Oh, and I’ll cover my bases at the beginning by asking for a thousand more wishes!”


First panel. Student: "So, did you finish correcting the tests yet?" Professor: "Woah, it has only been a day! Give me a week." Second panel (a week later). Student: "You must have our tests now, right?" Professor (thinking of their to-do pile, with most of the tests there): "Almost!"

The variety among teachers for getting assignments and tests back is remarkable. My supervisor would get our final exams corrected and our grades posted on the same day as the exam, while others try to get as cozy as they can with the deadline.


First panel. Professor: "Are you clear on what you have to do next? I'll be away for a few weeks, so you will be on your own." Student: "Yes, I'll be fine." Second panel. Professor: "Are you sure? This is the time to ask questions if you have any." Student: "No no, I'm sure." Third panel (the next day). Student (composing an email): "Dear professor, I'm having a slight issue that I hope you can help me with..."

Why do the issues always pop up the second our professors leave? It’s almost as if we are trying to look smart in front of them when we are really lost.

Oh wait.


First panel. Researcher 1: "Hey, do you use funny labels when referencing other work in your LaTeX document?" Researcher 2: "Oh yeah!" Second panel. R2: "I have a ton of fun with those. Since I'm the only one that sees the labels, I make up some crazy ones!" R1: "Like 'ProfessorAnnoying'?" Third panel. R2: "Wait, how do you know that?" R1: "Look." Fourth panel, showing that the hover state displays these crazy labels. R2: "Uh oh." (Pause) "Actually, he's so old that I doubt he has ever read a PDF. I think I'm in the clear."

I only uncovered this while browsing some other research papers and noticing that the hover state acts just like a link with its own URL. I immediately went to check if my past papers had anything crazy. Thankfully, there was nothing I could see.


First panel. Researcher 1: "Ugh, it's such a pain to write papers in LaTeX! It's so ugly when I work in the editor." Researcher 2: "But at least it looks nice when you compile. What do you think people did when LaTeX didn't exist?" Second panel. R1: "Haha, nice try, but there was always LaTeX!" R2: "What about when there were only typewriters?" Third panel. R1: "So what did people do then?" Fourth panel. R2: "People had to type up their documents, leave blank spaces throughout, and then write in the equations by hand." R1: "Oh dear God. I'll never complain again!"

Thankfully, I’ve never had to do this myself. However, I have seen it while looking at old papers, and I can tell you, it looks bad.

Scientific Perspective

First panel. Student: "Hi, I'm here to buy some scientific perspective. What do you recommend?" Second panel. Seller: "Sure, we have plenty to choose from. We offer cosmologist, astrophysicist, evolutionary biologist, regular biologist, psychologist, computer scientist, and many more!" Third panel. Student: "Well, there are a lot of interesting options. Can I pick more than one?" Seller: "Absolutely not! Haven't you seen how science works? The best scientists choose one perspective in grad school, and they stick with it."

I think I’ve shown my biases when it comes to listing a variety of scientific perspectives…

Chain of Command

First panel. Supervisor: "Ugh, more busywork for this project. If only I had someone else to deal with this... Wait a second, that's what I hired a post-doc for!" (Sends an email) Second panel. Post-doc: "Why does she think I want to do this? I have research to do. Wait a second, we have a grad student in our group! I'll just send it to her. I'm sure she won't mind." Third panel. Grad student: "Why is he sending this to me? I have a conference posted to create! Wait a second, I could offload this to that new undergrad we hired for the summer. They can take care of it!" Fourth panel. Undergraduate: "Did they all forget that this is only my second week?!"

The next step is the undergraduate sending this work to their future self.

More Questions Than Answers

First panel. Student 1: "I can't wait to start my physics degree. After only twenty or so classes, I'll understand all of physics." Second panel. Student 1: "Just think, I'll know more about physics than Newton or Einstein!" Third panel (three years later). Student 2: "So, how did that physics degree go? Do you know more than Newton and Einstein?" Student 1: "All I learned was that I have a lot more questions than answers."

The gift of education is an opening of your eyes to just how much more there is to learn.