Comics about mathematics, science, and the student life.

Sure

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.

Hovering

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.

Typesetting

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.

Proof Routes

First panel. Student: "Ugh, I need to prove three different things to get what I need! And I'll need a lot more space..." (Long Route) Second panel. Student: "Oh, this is easy to prove! I just need to quote five different theorems. No work required." (Efficient route)

All students strive to be able to take the Efficient Route, and yet it is the most elusive of paths to a proof.

Ansatz

The “respectable” way to use a shortcut.

Filling The Bucket

First panel (undergraduate): A cloud labelled 'collect this information', and a student with a bucket. Student: "I'm pretty good at this. I should go to grad school!" Second panel (graduate): Teacher: "Okay, time to come up with your own original idea!" Student: "But how am I going to fill up my bucket?"

I wonder how well we prepare students during their undergraduate degree to make the decision of doing graduate studies.

Intuition

Professor: "So what does your physical intuition tell you?" Student (thinking about finding their intuition): "Umm..." Caption: Each time I'm asked for my intuition, I feel like I'm being tested for my worth as a physicist.

I’ve been meaning to get to this, but I just can’t seem to find the time…