Comics about mathematics, science, and the student life.


Left panel (What I'd like): A researcher stands near a sign which points to the right and says, "Good Research Ideas". Right panel (Reality): A researcher looks to another, who points behind her and says, "Maybe there's something over there?"

“I’ve been meaning to send a graduate student down that way, but I suppose you could try as well.”

Order of Operations

A visualization of the order of edits in a paper. Instead of being orderly from the start of the paper to the end, it ping-pongs back and forth many times.

The fun part is when a change here implies a rewrite there, there, and there.

Cluster Queue

A researcher climbs a ladder and adds another box labelled "Job" to a complicated contraption that already has many similar boxes in its queue, while a robotic arm moves from the queue to the current jobs being executed. The researcher says, "You can never submit too many jobs to the cluster."

If you’re not always computing something, what are you really doing?

Meteoric Announcement

A scientist holds their new paper and says, "I've spent over a year working on this paper, and now it's time to for it to shine in public!" At the same time, a large meteor with the label "Big Science Announcement" barrels towards the scientist.

Well, at least you can say you put out some new science on a day that many people actually thought about science.


A researcher kneels at a small plant, trowel in hand. They say, "Well, *I* like this, but I don't know if anyone else will..." Caption: The start of a research field.

“Wait, have you checked if this is an invasive plant species?”

“Nah, just look at how small it is! It’ll be fine.”


A graph of "Number of panels" versus "Number of allowed figures". It's an inverse relationship. At the point of the curve where there are few allowed figures and many panels, there's an arrow with text that says, "I'm looking at you, Science and Nature!"

I’d be curious to have actual data on this.

Explanation Skills

A graph of "Explanation complexity" versus "Explanation skills". The curve starts with low complexity and low skills, then both increase as the explainer gets better but over-explains, and finally comes down again as the explainer learns how to use their skills to not make the explanation too complex. In the middle hump though is the region where nobody wants you to explain.

Have you ever started explaining something, only for the others in your discussion to quickly pivot away from the topic? If so, there’s a chance you were in that middle hump. (I’ve been there too.)

Dead End

Left panel: A researcher is walking with purpose, saying, "After taking a break, this feels like the right path to the solution to my problem." Right panel (5 hours later): The researcher has their hands on their hips while looking at a sign. It says, "DEAD END", and it's signed by their past self. The researcher shouts, "Damn it!"

On the other hand, being forgetful can sometimes give you the motivation you need to keep going on a project that seems to have no way forward.

Research Taste

A collection of dots which represent ideas are all over the page. There's a dotted curve that weaves around the dots, labelled, "Research taste".

As a graduate student, I’d sometimes be happy enough to just have all those ideas!

Execution Time

A chart with two portions: The large portion has the label "Time spent finding ways it doesn't work" and the much smaller portion has the label "Time executing on the right idea".

Productivity hack: Don’t start with the wrong idea on your next project.