Comics about mathematics, science, and the student life.

Near Miss

A student is working for a long time on their homework problem, only to find that they are *just* off by a small factor. They then decide to slowly drop terms in order to get the agreement.

The more advanced the problem, the more frustrating this becomes.

Scientific Process

The left panel shows someone explaining how the heliocentric model just made *so* much more sense, while the right panel shows the audience not buying the data for a new theory that a researcher is presenting.

Science is less about abrupt phase changes and more about slowly convincing your critics that what you say makes sense.

Equivalences

Various definitions of equivalence in mathematics, including the regular "equals", "isomorphism", "definition", "only valid in a coordinate system", "approximation", and "the author left a lot of steps between these two lines, but you'll figure it out!"

Seriously, it feels like the authors of textbooks are sometimes just trying to mess with me.

In Theory

A researcher explains that they work in theory, by which they mean "in theory", so as little as possible.

“I don’t know why people think my job is so special.”

Show Your Work

In the first panel (representing school), the professor tells the student to always show their work while solving a problem. In the second panel (representing research), the professor tells the student that they need to show less work.

“We’re working with professionals here, not some young grad students!”

“But what about the grad students like me who are trying to learn from our paper?”

“I’m sure they will figure it out.”

Frictionless Learning

A student sits on a block and slides on a frictionless plane.

Watch a pretty video explaining a concept, and you will come out thinking you know everything. Sit down and try to work through a problem, however, and you will quickly realize you learned almost nothing.

Learning requires a lot of slow movement, with a lot of friction.

Impress Versus Scare

In the first panel, the professor gushes about how nice the equations of general relativity are. In the second panel, the professor says to forget about all of that, since these equations are actually quite nasty.

I’m firmly convinced that physicists and mathematicians are some of the best marketers for their equations.

The Scientific Jungle

On the left, the city represents lecture notes and textbooks, the suburbs are advanced courses and internships, the campers are graduate school, and the tent is research.

“When no one can answer your questions, you’re getting close!”

(Originally part of my post on ErrantScience Clutter.)

Productive Breaks

Two students discuss their homework. One student mentions how they stopped after five minutes, and calls it "subconsciously mulling it over".

“The best thinkers always figured out the solution to their problems when they weren’t working. I’m just trying to emulate them!”

Influence

Two graphs. One shows what we perceive to be our influence, while the second shows that our influence reaches further than we realized.

We influence so many people that we never hear from ever again or know existed that it’s kind of amazing to think about.