Comics about mathematics, science, and the student life.

Nice Answers

Student: "I thought I did the problem right, but the answer comes out to be 71.367, which must be wrong. My professor only assigns problems with nice answers." Caption: I sometimes think we're conditioning students to believe in numerology.

On second thought, maybe we just end up switching our idea of a “nice” answer.

Reading Versus Understanding

Student 1: "How did the test go?" Student 2: "Not great. I had no idea how to do anything." S1: "How's that possible?! You spent hours reading the textbook." S2: "Nobody said I had to understand it, too!"

I think every student has found themselves sitting at a desk with a textbook, eyes glazed over. Unfortunately, putting your eyeballs in front of a textbook is not quite enough.

Parasitism

Professor: "As your teacher, I'm going to let you in on a little secret. When I'm stuck on a proof, I look for another result that implies mine trivially." Student: "So you're telling us to be lazy." Professor: "I prefer, 'proof by paraistism'."

Bonus tip: when stuck on a step during a test, try to argue that there’s a theorem that proves that step, and then proceed from there. This stops you from being unable to complete the problem!

Brushing Up

A conversation in which, like every other physics student in existence, the student tries to avoid actually learning the mathematical details of what they work with.

The resolution of every single physics student, ever.

Fruit of Knowledge

After years of work, the two young physisists finally made it to their field's tree of knowledge. Student 1: "All of the low-hanging fruit has been picked!" Student 2: "I think the biology one is still ripe."

Say what you will about one discipline being more “pure” than another, but there are some exciting things going on in biology right now.

The Fundamental Rule of School Breaks

Student: "Now that the semester is over, I'm sure I can handle some new projects." (Later when the semester starts up again) "How did I ever think I'd have time for all of this when the semester started up again!?"

The semester is just long enough for me to always forget this very important lesson before the next break comes along.

Vacuum Baubles

Person 1: Good, you finally remembered to put up the vacuum baubles! Person 2: Yeah, the tree by itself was pretty boring. Caption: Christmas in the phi^4 household.

For anyone that actually gets this technical reference, I salute you. Nothing like making people work hard to understand a comic during the holidays!

Inverse Square Law

Student 1: "So now that you're finished your physics degree, what was the most important thing you learned?" Student 2: "Everything follows an inverse-square law. Even if it doesn't, most won't notice it if you try to slip it by them."

“Oh yeah, the amount of energy I have in a day follows an inverse-square law. I mean, clearly this must be true!”

(Other physicist) “Now that I think about it, I do seem to be four times as tired when I’m twice as far into my day…”

Contrived

Professor: "Let's see how convoluted I can make this problem." (Later) "Here's your homework problem. It's totally what would show up in research and not something I just made up."

I’ve been knee-deep into a problem before, only to throw up my hands and curse my professor for something that is clearly meant to keep us occupied (and serves no greater purpose).

Audiobook Presentation

Student 1: "Crafting a presentation takes so long! Getting the right balance of story and technical details is super challenging." Student 2: "Oh, I'm already done." S1: "How? You only started yesterday!" S2: "Sure, but presentations are easy once you're done your paper. You just treat it as the audiobook version!"

I think we’ve all sat in for this kind of presentation before.