Comics about mathematics, science, and the student life.

Conveyor Belt

Left panel (What we want): A person looks at their blackboard filled with scribbles and says, "Tell me the truth, math!" Right panel (What we get): A conveyor belt representing mathematics, with the assumptions as the input and the implications as the output.

In plain terms: Garbage in, garbage out.

Hopebeat

A graph showing the "hopebeat" during research. It begins at a baseline, spikes up when we think, "This is a breakthrough!", hits a low when we realize, "Okay, maybe not", bounces back up just above the baseline when we find a new topic to get excited about, spikes when we think, "This will change the world!", crashes down again when we realize it won't work, and then repeats.

Note: Time between peaks is irregular and can grow to arbitrary durations.

Judge

Two scientists discussing. The first says, "You shouldn't judge a paper by its title." The second asks, "That's what you do?" The first says, "Oh no, I'm way too busy!"

You’d think this would mean more catchy paper titles, but you’d be wrong.

Hype

A line graph going towards the right, indicating more hype. There's a "Rejection threshold", and a scientist kneels to place their paper near it. Off-panel, their collaborator shouts, "Make sure you put our paper as close as possible!" The scientist responds, "Done."

This is really an art.

Barriers

A researcher runs towards a large barrier, ready to pole vault over it. The barrier's label is "My mathematical barriers", while the pole is "What I know". Caption: Reading in a new field.

It’s as if nothing I ever did applies anymore.

Work Ethic

Panel One (Caption: Amateurs): A person kicks back with their feet on their desk. "I just need to wait for the perfect idea." Panel Two (Caption: Professionals): A person starts working at their desk. "Time for the usual session."

The key is starting.

Becoming

Panel One: In the top-left corner, there's a region marked "X". On the right, there's a dotted region representing the knowledge of a person. The public (outside the comic) says: "Not an expert!" Panel Two: The two regions get a little closer, and the public says, "Not an expert!" Panel Three: The two regions get closer again, and the public says, "Not an expert!" Panel Four: The two regions overlap ever so slightly, and now the public shouts, "They're an expert!"

It’s always good to remember there are different levels of expertise.

Payoff

Two scientists discussing research. Scientist One: "I want to kick off a new field!" Scientist Two: "Do you also want to spend years in obscurity no assured payoff?" Scientist Two: "Maybe I'll stick to what I'm doing."

There’s a reason people choose the usual path.

Interdisciplinary

A bunch of scattered dots, representing disciplines. The distance between dots is their similarity. For two close dots, there's an exclamation: "I'm interdisciplinary!"

The trick is to keep splitting up your discipline into smaller and smaller pieces, until you can claim your work goes through a bunch of different areas.

Elevator Pitch

A friend asks their scientist friend, "So, can you tell me what you do?" The friend answers, "Uh yeah... but of, I need to go jot down a new idea!" She's leaving the frame. Caption: Maybe I should take the time to come up with a good answer.

“Do you mean to tell me you’ve spent years working on this, but you don’t know how to explain it to me?!”

“Oh no, I can do it…I’ll let you know this afternoon.” (Proceeds to spend that time frantically searching for a good way to communicate the idea.)