Comics about mathematics, science, and the student life.


Two scientists from different areas are walking together. One points to themselves and says, "I'm the leading scientist in my field." The other scientist asks, "Wow, how many people work in it?" He snaps, "That's irrelevant!"

“There’s just you, isn’t there?”

“No! And even if there was just me, that wouldn’t change my statement!”


A graph of "How easy it seems" versus "How far in you are". When you aren't far in, everything seems easy. But there comes a sudden transition point where it all becomes hard and you start asking, "Why did I ever agree to this?!"

Another simple way to induce this transition is to say “yes” to way too many things (even if they are easy individually).


A scientist sticks out his arm behind him and walks away from a flashy orb that says "Impossible research problem". He says, "No, I said I wasn't going to think about you again!"

We all know you will come back to it.


Left panel (Start of Graduate School): A student scratches his chin and says, "I've got to show everyone that I know a lot." Right panel (End of Graduate School): A student shrugs and says, "Eh, I know a little, and that's enough."

Graduate school: Learning to be okay with all that you don’t know.


A graph of "Difficulty to answer" versus "Simplicity of the question". The graph is positive and linear.

There’s a reason why there are big open research questions that are simple to state.


A graph of "Checking job postings" versus "Despair as a graduate student". The checking quickly rises with despair.

The time-honoured tradition of daydreaming to get away from my current research problems.


A person arranges a series of boxes that represent tasks along an axis labeled "Time of day". The axis is almost completely full, and the person is trying to squeeze one last task box that clearly doesn't fit. He's saying, "Why do I feel like I have no time?"

“You know, you could give yourself a little space between each task. It’s called ‘margin’.”

“But then I wouldn’t be able to fit this task in!”

(Hat tip to Shawn Blanc for his generous work on margin and an inspiration for this comic!)

Valley of Expectations

A person struggles to get out of a deep valley with a rock at the bottom labeled "Expectations". He's saying, "But I don't even want this!"

The problem is that I often only notice the valley when it becomes super deep.

Research Garden

An overhead view of a garden. The top of the comic has a box of plants labeled, "Staple research crop". To the left is a research tool shed. In the middle are two circular containers representing collaboration experiments. To the right is another box, but this one has idea seedlings.

What else is in your garden?