Comics about mathematics, science, and the student life.


A portrait of a graduate student drawing a boat instead of working. Caption: Portrait of a grad student procrastinating.

“I’m not procrastinating, I’m thinking of my research problem!”


A graph of "How easy it is to solve" versus "Proximity to the problem". It's an inverse relationship, with it being harder to solve the problem when it's closer to you.

Without that emotional attachment, it sure is easy to prescribe what to do for others!


Left panel: A person crosses his arms and says, "It's time to finally start this project!" Right panel (Caption: 8 hours later): A friend approaches him and asks, "How's it going?" He replies to her, "I've almost chosen a font."

“Then I can choose the type size and maybe even write an outline!”


A person raises a fist and says, "Okay, I'm ready and motivated!" His colleague then says, "Ah, you'll have to wait. I'm not close to done my part." Caption: Teamwork.

It’s even better if you increase the number of people involved!


A graph of "Ease of pivoting" versus "Success". The graph decreases rapidly as you become successful.

This is why it can be good to regularly reflect on if you’re doing the work you want to be doing.


Snapshots of a person over time. When they are young, they say, "I used to be a kid, but now I'll never change." A few years later, an older version of that kid says, "That past me was silly. Of course I changed, but now I'm done." Another few years pass and the person says, "I've been an adult for years now, so I'm sure I'm done changing." Finally, they are old and walking with a cane when they say, "I never knew what I was talking about!"

The optimistic lesson: There’s always time to change.

Work Acknowledgement

A line graph that shows the portion of your work that's visible to others. A small portion is visible, but most is invisible. Be sure you're happy with the invisible parts.

I try to remind myself that there are many ways to find joy in the work.

Activation Energy

A graph of "Annoyance" versus "Time". The curve oscillates. It begins with very low annoyance. Then suddenly an annoying event occurs and the curve shoots up, but not quite enough to hit the activation energy required to do something about it. The curve then returns to normal and you forget about the annoying thing, only for it to happen again and again in a cyclical pattern.

“I’ll do something about it next time!”

Curious Intelligence

A graph of "How intelligent you seem" versus "Curiosity". The relationship is increasing and nonlinear, indicating people find those who are curious to be particularly smart.

Even if you think they are “stupid” questions, I still think people will view you as more engaged and intelligent about the topic than if you stayed silent.

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.