Comics about mathematics, science, and the student life.

Neutral Response

First panel, a researcher presents their results and gives a good presentation. In the second panel, a bad presentation occurs. And yet, both result in the audience clapping.

I understand that it is the polite thing to do. I just find it interesting how applause is more of a social convention in research presentations than an actual marker of quality.

Open Science

Student reading a research paper: "This paper is so good! Plus, they reference a ton of papers. I'm going to check them all out!" (After checking a bunch of the references): "Surprise, surprise. Another paper behind a paywall. Maybe the 103rd time's a charm..."

Like my undergraduate supervisor use to tell me, at least we have the arXiv for physics.

Starved Theorists

Researcher presenting data that has a strange anomaly: "As you can see, we have some interesting results." Audience member: "New physics!" (The next day on the arXiv): Fifty new research papers on this anomaly.

We just want one morsel of new physics. Please!


Researcher: "I have a great idea for a paper! It will be a great fit for a mathematical physics journal, since it's multidisciplinary." (A few months later, the peer review comes in) Email: Dear researcher, Here is the feedback for your manuscript. Referee 1: Needs more mathematics and less physics. Referee 2: Who cares about the math? More physics!

You just can’t please everyone, huh?

Whole Question

Student (as the teacher approaches with the test): "Deep breaths. You know how to do all of this. No need to stress out. It's going to be fine..." (Looks at the first question and goes in shock): "'Find the B field...' I have to find it everywhere?! I'll never have time to do that." Actual question, which the student didn't read: Find the B field for the exterior of a sphere. Caption: Test tip: make sure you read the whole question.

I’ve definitely found myself flying through a question, only to look up fifteen minutes later and realize I only had to find part of the answer.


Student: "I'm going to learn about X today!" Student sees that X is intertwined with Y, Z, A, B, C, D, E, etc.: "Oh boy."

The issue (and great thing) about mathematics and physics is that you need to build up from the foundations. Unfortunately, that means you can rarely just “pick up” a topic without having to look at several other connected ideas.

Poster Template

Student 1: "Ugh, I have to make a poster, but I don't know where to start!" Student 2: "Here, I just sent you my template." S1: "It's so ugly..." S2 (Walking away): "And yet we both know you're going to use it."

“I have standards, you know!”


“Well, the template is already done…”


Student reading a professor's notes: "This is ridiculous. My professor skips so many steps in class that my notes resemble Swiss cheese! I'll never do this when I'm older." Later, when the student is older: "Hmm... I don't really have time left in the semester to show them all the details. I guess I'll just have to speed through the deatils. That's not technically against what I said..."

And yet, your students will hate you just the same.

Mountain of Mathematics

Student: "Now that I'm done calculus, I must be close to knowing all of math?" Tutor: "Yeah..." (Second panel shows a mountain with calculus at the very bottom.) Tutor: "I think we still have work to do."

Really? I thought that as soon as I finished my undergraduate degree, all of math was essentially the same, but a bit more difficult.

Follows Easily

Textbook: "The result follows easily from the previous equations." Student: "If it follows so easily, why couldn't you take the time to show it?! It's not like you're trying to teach students or anything..."

Okay, I get it when I’m reading a research paper. But for a textbook, these kinds of details should probably be shown. Maybe I’m just tackling textbooks that are too far ahead of me…