Comics about mathematics, science, and the student life.

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.

Entangled

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!”

(Pause)

“Well, the template is already done…”

Holes

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…

Sentience

Professor presenting: "Bosons are quite friendly and will share states, but fermions? Forget about it. They are like lone wolves." Caption: Physicists: The people who love to give sentience to everything, from equations to particles to stars to galaxies.

How else are we going to get funding if we don’t make our equations sound fun and engaging?

Variable Conditions

Before a test: "This stuff is so easy!" During a test: "Ugh, why does it feel like I'm suddenly much less intelligent?!"

Temporal pressure does funny things to a person.

Research Bubble

Five research papers reference each other, with no one actually doing any work. Researcher: "Did anyone actually take the time to look outside of these five papers?!"

In mathematics, this is known as “proof by circularity”, and is partly where I got the idea for this comic (from someone else).

However, my real motivation came from the fact that I was looking at the literature for a specific topic, and I kept on seeing the same few papers being referenced. I was hoping to find something new, but I couldn’t seem to break this “bubble” of citations.

Arbitrary Function

Professor: "Okay, so to motivate this theorem, let's start with an arbitrary function..." (Draws essentially a curvy function.) Caption: Every professor's idea of an "arbitrary function" seems to be a sine wave.

Now that you’ve seen it, you won’t be able to unsee it.