Comics about mathematics, science, and the student life.

Stages of Problem Solving

The ten stages of problem solving: delusion, complication, exploration, confusion, disillusion, desperation, temptation, frustration, apprehension, celebration.

Inspired by the beautiful work done by Grant Snider from Incidental Comics. May my art someday look as good.

Hierarchy Problem

A scientist complains to a physicist that physicists shouldn't act superior about their field. People should see science as more of a connected web of subjects rather than a hierarchy. The physicist pauses, and then rearranges the topics on the board to show that physics is still on top.

I know physics is supposed to be the “fundamental” science, but I think we as physicists often have negative views towards the other subjects for no good reason.

Frame of Reference

Two people are running, and one shouts for the other to slow down. The person doesn't, and when they are confronted later, they say that they didn't specify a reference frame to slow down in.

If we had to actually specify our frame of reference, our casual conversations would be a lot longer.

Ideas

In the first panel, a professor tells a student that the idea they have is just plain wrong. In the second panel, the professor says that the student's new idea is even more wrong. The first panel is being wrong in science, while the second is being right.

It’s like everyone is running around with their own pet theories, unreceptive to the ideas of others.

Oh wait.

Good Science / Bad Science

In the first panel, the two researchers are in a boat without a motor, allowing them to go where the Data waters takes them. In the second panel, the researchers have installed a motor so that they can go against the river.

“Don’t you think this motor will bias our results?”

“Of course it will, but we can just handwave it away in the “Discussion” section of our paper!”

In The Trenches

The professor welcomes the new students to graduate school, and explains that this isn't like an undergraduate degree. It's not just seeing the highlights. It's about going in the trenches and getting dirty.

I got the idea for this after visiting a university for their graduate program in physics. The professor said that while undergraduate studies are like seeing the best cathedrals and architecture, graduate studies are like having to build these from scratch with no prior knowledge.

Legibility

The professor tells the students that they will be using the symbol "Xi" for a quantity, even though literally any other symbol could be used.

“Professor, why do we use this symbol? It’s so difficult to write.”

“Oh, you’ll get used to it after writing it a thousand times!”

No Distractions

In the first panel, the student decides to read some papers outside with no distractions. In the second panel, they begin reading only to find that they need access some other papers (but the student doesn't have Wi-Fi.

It feels so strange to think that you used to go to a library to search for these papers instead of having easy(-ish) access online.

Foundations

A professor leads a group of students to a glass case in which the axioms of mathematics are held. The professor wants them to see the axioms at least once in their lives.

“Do we need to know this for the test, Professor?”

“Nah, I barely remember them!”

Experiment Public Relations

In the first panel, the researcher walks to his computer to check the calculations for the 30th time. In the second panel, the researcher discusses the experiment with a friend, telling them how amazing the whole experiment is and how much fun he's having. This is the PR version.

“There weren’t any difficult aspects?”

“Nope, everything was amazing!”